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Shonda Rhimes Blasts Deadline for “Ignorant” Article on Race: “HELL NO”

Shonda Rimes
Shonda Rimes blasted an "ignorant" article on Twitter.Vivien Killilea/WireImage

It's handled. Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter in the early hours of Wednesday, March 25, to speak out against a talked-about editorial on Deadline Hollywood. 

The celebrated showrunner, 45, reacted swiftly to "Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings – About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?" — an article published on Tuesday evening by the site's TV editor. While Rhimes didn't link to or name the op-ed specifically, there was so much chatter that she did not need to. 

"1st Reaction: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse!" the Grey's Anatomy creator tweeted. "2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can't even be bothered."

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The controversial piece highlighted the rise of network shows starring people of color, including Fox's wildly popular Empire, ABC's Fresh Off the Boat, and even Rhimes' latest smash, How to Get Away With Murder

"Ethnic castings exploded this season… But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction," Deadline's Nellie Andreeva writes. "Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal." 

"Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered," she continues, noting a shift in a field that has been notoriously stacked in favor of white actors for decades. "In one instance, after a number of actors of different ethnicities tested for two roles in a pilot this year, two Caucasian actors ended up being the top choices for the two remaining regular parts. However, because of a mandate from the studio and network, one of the roles had to diverse, so the pilot could only cast one of the top choices and pass on the other to fulfill the ethnic quota. 'They need to say the best man or woman wins,' one rep suggested."

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Rhimes went on retweet messages from media experts, who called the piece "tone deaf," "gross," and noted the "face palm" it inspired. She shared messages from BuzzFeed's Kate Aurthur, who joked, "So hard out there for white actors these days! I'm sobbing!" and The New Republic's Jamil Smith, who explained, "What troubles me is the decision-makers in Hollywood who will read that @Deadline tripe about black actors in television and say, 'Exactly.'"

There has been no comment from Andreeva on the backlash, and the article remains in its entirety on Deadline

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