Shonda Rhimes furious over website's 'diversity on TV' article: 'HELL NO'

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How Shonda Rhimes Is Impacting Race and Gender in Hollywood

Shonda Rhimes is the showrunner for some of the most successful dramas on television (Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder, Grey's Anatomy), and she's not taking comments made by the website Deadline on racial diversity on TV sitting down.


In an article written by Nellie Andreeva, titled Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings -- About Time or Too Much of a Good Thing?, she argues that perhaps too many roles are being given to minority actors and that in Hollywood casting, the "pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction" when it comes to hiring non-Caucasian performers."

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Shonda Rhimes furious over website's 'diversity on TV' article: 'HELL NO'
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Producer Shonda Rhimes attends ABC's TGIT premiere event on September 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Creator/Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage during the "Greyâs Anatomy,â âScandal,â and âHow to Get Away with Murder" panel at the Disney/ABC Summer TCA Tour held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: Producer Shonda Rhimes (L) and actress Kerry Washington attend the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Producer Shonda Rhimes attends the 8th annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 19, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Producer Shonda Rhimes attends the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
CENTURY CITY, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Actor Scott Foley (L) and honoree Shonda Rhimes pose during the 2015 Writers Guild Awards L.A. Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 14, 2015 in Century City, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Actress Lena Dunham, ELLE, Editor-in-Chief, Robbie Myers and writer/producer Shonda Rhimes attend ELLE's Annual Women in Television Celebration on January 13, 2015 at Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, California. Presented by Hearts on Fire and Olay. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for ELLE)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Shonda Rhimes receives the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre on September 30, 2014 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
EDGARTOWN, MA - AUGUST 19: (L-R) Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Shonda Rhimes attend the Root 100 2014 List Release Reception on August 19, 2014 in Edgartown, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for The Root)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Robin Roberts gets a behind-the-scenes look at 'Shondaland' - Shonda Rhimes and her stable of hit series for ABC Television, which will air on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, starting Thursday, Sept. 18 (7-9am, ET). (Photo by Todd Wawrychuk/ABC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: Writer/producer Shonda Rhimes (L) with actress Kerry Washington, Lucy Award for Excellence in Television recipient, attend Women In Film 2014 Crystal + Lucy Awards presented by MaxMara, BMW, Perrier-Jouet and South Coast Plaza held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on June 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Women In Film / MaxMara)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JANUARY 25: Producer Betsy Beers (L) and writer/producer Shonda Rhimes accept the Diversity Award onstage at the 66th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on January 25, 2014 in Century City, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DGA)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actor Tony Goldwyn and Producer Shonda Rhimes attend the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) Presents The 51st Annual Publicists Awards Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 28, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 02: Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers at The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences 'Welcome To ShondaLand: An Evening With Shonda Rhimes & Friends' held at The Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on April 2, 2012 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/WireImage)
Television producer and writer Shonda Rhimes, addresses the audience after receiving the W.E.B. Du Bois medal during ceremonies, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. The Du Bois Medal is Harvard's highest honor in the field of African and African American Studies. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Actor, talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, center left, and television producer and writer Shonda Rhimes, right, embrace on stage during the W.E.B. Du Bois medal award ceremonies, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. The Du Bois Medal is Harvard's highest honor in the field of African and African American Studies. Winfrey and Rhimes both received the medal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
From left, Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes pose backstage at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 18: Director/Producer Shonda Rhimes receives the Elenor Roosevelt Award at the 10th Annual Global Women's Rights Awards at Pacific Design Center on May 18, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
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"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," Andreeva writes. "Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts."

The article continues, noting, "While they are among the most voracious and loyal TV viewers, African-Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population. They were grossly underserved, but now, with shows as Empire, Black-ish, Scandal and HTGAWM on broadcast, Tyler Perry's fare on OWN and Mara Brock Akil's series on BET, they have scripted choices, so the growth in that fraction of the TV audience might have reached its peak."

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Upon reading this controversial piece, Rhimes took to Twitter Tuesday to vehemently slam the trade website and Andreeva's views on more actors of ethnic backgrounds on television. "1st Reaction:: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse!" Rhimes wrote. "2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can't even be bothered."


By Wednesday morning, the Emmy-winning writer's tweet had been shared over 700 times, including by Selma director Ava DuVernay.

But Rhimes wasn't the only one up in arms over the article's point of view. New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff tweeted: "Just astounding that something so tone deaf could be published in 2015 by a supposedly credible news source."

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Comedian Billy Eichner made light of the article, tweeting: "Did the Deadline article say anything about whether or not Chappie was black?"

Given Rhimes' response and the Twitter uproar from this article, we expect an op-ed response from a competing website to come shortly.

What do you think of Deadline's article? Share your thoughts in the comments and tweet #ETnow.

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