In a display of surprisingly extensive ignorance, Aaron Sorkin apparently just realized that Hollywood has an issue with diversity. According to Variety, Sorkin was on a panel during the Writers Guild Festival in Los Angeles on Saturday, and he seemed legitimately surprised that not only would someone think women and minorities have a harder time in the movie industry than white men do, but that white men would be allowed to make “mediocre movies” and continue getting work. It would be one thing if he were a dick who simply rejected the idea that white men have advantages that other people don’t, but in the quotes that Variety shares, he really sounds like someone who simply never realized that this was a thing.
Sorkin says that up until now he has always believed that Hollywood is “a genuine meritocracy,” meaning that the people who do good work—and only the people who do good work—will continue to get opportunities, but that notion is almost profoundly absurd. Sorkin even tried to change the subject as the event went on by taking unrelated questions from audience members, but he eventually drifted back.
Almost as if he hasn’t been paying attention to the movie industry for the past century, he asked the audience, “You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of color, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?” The story doesn’t say if the audience laughed at that part, but there were probably some chuckles at least.
Variety says he seemed “genuinely troubled by his lack of awareness,” and he eventually offered to help however he can, but he did make a point to maintain that his philosophy is “if you write it, they will come.” Hopefully, Sorkin is spending the rest of his weekend doing some research and having his mind blown by the idea of white privilege.