Woody Allen Won’t Hire Black Actors Unless His Movie ‘Requires’ It

Woody Allen, To Rome With LoveSony Pictures Classics via Everett Collection

Many Woody Allen fans have had to re-think their position on the celebrated film critic over the past year. First, there was Dylan Farrow’s open letter in which she detailed the alleged sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. And now we have comments he made in response to a question about the lack of diversity in his films.

When a journalist for the New York Observer asked Allen why he didn’t hire more black actors, he explained that he doesn’t do it unless it’s required:

Not unless I write a story that requires it. You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part. The implication is that I’m deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what’s right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part.

Obviously, a writer or director needs only be faithful to the story, but is this explanation problematic? On the one hand he says race “means nothing” to him, but if that were the case, he wouldn’t have to wait for a story to require a black actor. You can read the full interview here.