Green Book producer Jonathan King recently made the absolutely obvious statement that the film was meant for an “older white audience.” Speaking on a panel for diversity and inclusion during the Milken Global Conference on Monday, King stunned literally no one in the world when he made the comment. Shortly after, King went on to explain his stance and used some backward rhetoric to justify why the film was told through the perspective of a white man instead of its black lead.
“The audience for that kind of movie is largely older and largely white,” King bluntly said. “If you believe that older white people don’t need to be told to be less racist anymore because that’s an issue from the past, look around. Because they do. Occasionally you need to make a movie that is directed at older white people.” I don’t even want to attempt to break down how moronic that is.
Further defending his point, King stated, “Are we going to get criticism because the director happens to be a white guy? Maybe. No director would represent the lives and lived experiences of those two main characters, because they were coming from completely different points of view.” King then added that a lot of studios did not want to fund the movie out of fear of it not doing well in international markets.
Responding to King, Bad Robot CEO Katie McGrath (also in attendance at the panel) said, “Those stories have to be told as long as we’re also telling stories of the protagonist of color.” Arguing for more diversity, she added, “We need to make space in our industry for stories that center for the people who haven’t had the opportunity to have their perspective drive the narrative.”
I don’t believe I even need to explain how insensitive Green Book is. In fact, Flixist’s own Nathan McVay wrote quite a lengthy rant about it after it won Best Picture during this year’s Oscar’s. For the producer to think what the studio accomplished is correct, though, just blows my mind. We all knew Green Book was meant for old white guys that want to feel better about themselves, but I never thought we’d get confirmation straight from the source.
Now, I’d be fine with the film if it didn’t obfuscate the truth to fit its own intentions. That isn’t the case, though. There are numerous reports about how flagrantly false the film is and even Don Shirley’s family is upset with how the film portrayed him. To completely ignore all that and say, “We wanted to get the message to white people that being a savior to the black man is the way to go,” comes off as plugging your ears and shouting over criticisms.
If I keep going, I’ll end up writing another rant about the film. To wrap this whole thing up, I’m not surprised that Green Book was targeted at a white audience. I’m mostly shocked that producers believe they can get away with being so honest about their intentions.
‘Green Book‘ Producer Says Film Was Aimed at Older White Audiences [Yahoo Entertainment]