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‘Harriet’ Star Cynthia Erivo Responds to Stephen King’s Diversity Tweet

TCA 2020: Erivo, the only performer of color to receive an Oscar nod this year, stars in the TV adaptation of King’s ”The Outsider“

Cynthia Erivo, the only performer of color to receive an Oscar nomination this week, responded to comments from author and Academy member Stephen King about diversity in Hollywood on Wednesday.

“I feel like this year we had a flurry of beautiful pieces by people who are of a diverse nature — black women, women in general,” Erivo said at the Television Critics Association press tour, singling out “Watchmen” star Regina King in particular. “We just have to open the doors and open our eyes to the people who are making the work.”

King came under fire this week for a tweet saying he would “never consider” diversity when it comes to evaluating art or voting on awards. “It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong,” the author wrote.

King’s comments came a day after an overwhelmingly white and male batch of Oscar nominees were announced on Monday. Erivo, who starred in the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet,” was the only non-white actor to receive a nomination in a near-repeat of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy from a few years ago.

Notably, Erivo appearance at the press tour was to promote the HBO limited series “The Outsider” — an adaptation of one of King’s novels.

“I am one of the players, so if there’s room for me to play, that’s what I’m going to do,” she said. “And if I can create room for others, that’s also what I’m going to do.”

“But it’s also up to those who are used to doing things a certain way to shake up their ideas.” Erivo continued. “Change the way they think, change the way they cast things, change the way hire they their producers, their directors and their writers and make sure the room reflects the world they live in. That’s how I think we lean into the diversity a bit more.”