Deadline Editor Apologizes for Controversial ‘Ethnic Castings’ Article

EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard) toasts his family in the "Devil Quotes Scripture" episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Pictured L-R: Jussie Smollett, Serayah McNeill, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Grace Gealey, Terrence Howard, Trai Byers and Kaitlin Doubleday.
 ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. (Photo: Chuck Hodes/FOX)

Deadline Editor Apologizes for Controversial ‘Ethnic Castings’ Article

The entertainment news website also changed the original headline, which co-editor Mike Fleming Jr. says "undermined" the article.

Published March 30, 2015

Five days ago, entertainment news website Deadline published an article titled "Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings – About Time or Too Much of Good Thing?" The piece sparked a wave of public backlash across the web, prompting co-editor Mike Fleming Jr. to apologize in his weekly column.

(It's worth mentioning that the apology is essentially buried beneath an unrelated headline: “Bart & Fleming: A Mea Culpa; Frank Sinatra Re-Cast; Tent Pole Assembly Line.”)


"As co-editors in chief, Nellie [Andreeva] and I apologize deeply and sincerely to those who’ve been hurt by this," Fleming wrote. "There is no excuse. It is important to us that Deadline readers know we understand why you felt betrayed, and that our hearts are heavy with regret. We will move forward determined to do better.

Fleming continued on to say that the original headline — which was changed to "Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings" — does not reflect the collective sensibility at Deadline.

"My co-editor-in-chief Nellie Andreeva’s goal was to convey that there was such an uptick of TV pilot casting of people of color that it pinched white actors who’ve historically gotten most of the jobs, and to question if this could last if it was being treated as a fad," he wrote. "All this was undermined by that headline (which we changed after the fact) and a repetition of the word “ethnic” that came off cold and insensitive."

In a number of response pieces published Monday, writers expressed doubt about the sincerity of Fleming's apology.

Anna Silman at Slate described the apology as "pretty weak" and "lame." She also criticized Fleming for primarily focusing on the article's original headline and use of the word "ethnic," when "arguably the piece just shouldn’t have been published to begin with."

At The Root, Yesha Callahan echoed Silman's sentiments, writing "if they were truly sorry, someone would have stopped the post before it even went live on their website. But trolls are gonna troll."

BET National News — Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. 

 (Photo: Chuck Hodes/FOX)

Written by Patrice Peck


Latest in news