The Outsider (2020 miniseries)

After Stephen King took to Twitter to share his thoughts on how he “would never consider diversity in matters of art” in regards to the lack of diversity in 2020 Oscar nominations, Cynthia Erivo has responded with how the industry can do better.

Speaking at the 2020 Television Critics Assn. press tour on Wednesday, Erivo, who is starring in HBO’s adaptation of King’s The Outsider, was asked for her take on King’s tweets the day before which received immediate backlash.

“I can’t solve how you balance diversity with quality of work,” Erivo told the room of reporters via satellite from Tokyo. “I’d like to think I’m part of the world of diversity. Hopefully, more works get seen by people who are making good work. I feel like this year we had a flurry of beautiful pieces by people who are of diverse nature, black women, women in general, and I think you’re seeing more of it on TV, HBO in general.”

The Oscar-nominated star of Harriet went on to acknowledge Regina King’s “incredible” recent work on Watchmen, another HBO miniseries.

Cynthia Erivo
Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“I think now we just have to open the doors and open our eyes to those people who are making the work,” Erivo says. “I am one of the players. So if there is room for me to play then that’s what I’m going to do. If I can create more room for others, then that’s also what I’m going to do.”

However, Erivo stresses that it’s up to those who have the power and platform to make real change. “But if it’s also up to those people who are used to doing things a certain way to shake up their ideas, change the way they think, change the way they cast, change the way they line up their producers and directors and writers and make sure that the room reflects the world we live in, that’s how I think we lean in to diversity a little more,” she adds.

On Tuesday, King sent a series of tweets about his take on diversity in Hollywood.

After receiving backlash from notable figures such as Ava DuVernay and Roxane Gay among many others, a few hours later King seemed to backtrack on his comments in a series of new tweets.

The Outsider is executive produced and written by Richard Price (The Wire, The Night Of) and premieres with the first two hourlong installments on HBO back-to-back on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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The Outsider (2020 miniseries)
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