UPDATE, 8 AM: New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan this morning agreed with Shonda Rhimes, Ellen Pompeo, and others who weighed in on social media, saying the paper’s TV critic Alessandra Stanley was “condescending,” “astonishingly tone-deaf,” and “out of touch” in her recent piece on Rhimes new ABC series How To Get Away With Murder:
There are some big questions here – about diversity, about editing procedures and about how The Times deals with stories about women and race. They are worth exploring in depth.
This is a preliminary post, and I’ll be adding to it later today, or posting again. But I’ll say this much: The readers and commentators are correct to protest this story. Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way that was – at best – astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.
Sullivan noted Stanley said her intentions were misunderstood and “seemed to blame the Twitter culture for that, with a reference to 140 characters.” Sullivan said she has asked Stanley “to describe her interactions with Times editors before the article was published.”
PREVIOUS, September 19: New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley learned today that when you suggest that How To Get Away With Murder exec producer Shonda Rhimes call her autobiography How To Get Away With Being An Angry Black Woman because of Rhimes’ ability to embrace “the trite but persistent caricature of the Angry Black Woman, recast it in her own image and [make] it enviable” — Rhimes will not simper like a flattered schoolgirl. She will torch you on Twitter:
This tweet responds to one from Pete Nowalk — the white guy/former Grey’s Anatomy writer who created the new ABC series, which stars Viola Davis.
Warming to her theme, Rhimes continues:
Ellen Pompeo, aka Grey’s Anatomy‘s Meredith, agreed, chiming in:
Responded Stanley, in a statement:
“The whole point of the piece — once you read past the first 140 characters — is to praise Shonda Rhimes for pushing back so successfully on a tiresome but insidious stereotype.”