Walter Mosley Quits Star Trek Discovery

Celebrated author (Devil in a Blue Dress and other Easy Rawlins related books, among others) quits the writer's room on Star Trek Discovery after being reprimanded by HR after he used the N word to relate a personal story and an anonymous complaint was lodged against him.  
 
His NY Times editorial on the subject,


Comments

  • DeeDee Adelaide
    What I’m learning from this is that Walter Mosley is a Star Trek writer????
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    edited September 9
    Dee said:
    What I’m learning from this is that Walter Mosley is a Star Trek writer????

    Don't ask questions about the Discovery writer's room. It's endlessly baffling.
    Flukes
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Celebrated author (Devil in a Blue Dress and other Easy Rawlins related books, among others) quits the writer's room on Star Trek Discovery after being reprimanded by HR after he used the N word to relate a personal story and an anonymous complaint was lodged against him.  
     
    His NY Times editorial on the subject,


    This seems ridiculous. Not every black person in America is on the same page w/r/t use of the N-word, but reprimanding a black man for using it, especially given the context, can't be a popular position.
    FlukesElisa
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    edited September 9
    The ST:Disco writers room seems, from the outside, like an awful place to work.

    My initial reaction is that the real problem here is the person who wouldn't just have a private conversation with Walter about their discomfort. That said, I've been through enough anti-workplace harassment training to know that leadership has a huge impact on the workplace and how things like this are dealt with. You can create an environment where colleagues feel comfortable expressing themselves or you can create one where they scurry around tattling on each other. It seems obvious which type of environment is being fostered in this workplace.

    Edit: I'll just add that I don't think this story is out of place in a writers room for Star Trek. This is exactly the kind of experience Star Trek writers have drawn from for decades.
    JaimieTMFG
  • Plus heis  Walter Mosley -  you'd think if he wanted to tell you a story, you might want to listen...

    I wonder how James Ellroy is doing in the Orville writer's room?

    Flukes said:
    The ST:Disco writers room seems, from the outside, like an awful place to work.

    My initial reaction is that the real problem here is the person who wouldn't just have a private conversation with Walter about their discomfort. That said, I've been through enough anti-workplace harassment training to know that leadership has a huge impact on the workplace and how things like this are dealt with. You can create an environment where colleagues feel comfortable expressing themselves or you can create one where they scurry around tattling on each other. It seems obvious which type of environment is being fostered in this workplace.

    Edit: I'll just add that I don't think this story is out of place in a writers room for Star Trek. This is exactly the kind of experience Star Trek writers have drawn from for decades.

    Flukes
  • HunkuleseHunkulese Québec, Canada
    edited September 10
    I don't know, it seems like everyone acted in the proper manner, and Walter Mosely overreacted. Even then, I still get his point of view even though he seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding about what freedom of speech is.

    I also don't agree that it says anything about the working environment one way or the other. I don't care what your work environment is, you're not going to feel comfortable telling someone that their use of the N word makes your uncomfortable. That's the whole point of having H.R. people. And it sounds like the H.R. guy kindly asked him to stop using the N word. Is that really a problem? It's the most charged word in our language.

    Walter Mosely talks about how some people's sexual habits and desires make him uncomfortable. Guess what? You shouldn't be talking about your sexual habits and desires at work either. H.R. is going to have a chat with you about that if you're talking about them at work.

    And really, Walter Mosely? Not being able to say the N word at work is interfering with your pursuit of happiness?

    I was in a writers’ room trying to be creative while at the same time being surveilled by unknown critics who would snitch on me to a disembodied voice over the phone. My every word would be scrutinized. Sooner or later I’d be fired or worse — silenced.

    That's also just an absurd statement unless there's a lot more to the story. You used the N word at work and it made someone uncomfortable. People should be allowed to be comfortable at work. It's not the end of the word.

    When you work for someone else, you're always giving up your freedom of speech.
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    edited September 10
    Flukes said:
    My initial reaction is that the real problem here is the person who wouldn't just have a private conversation with Walter about their discomfort. That said...

    I think the fact that he quit his job and wrote an editorial subtitled "the worst thing you can do to citizens of a democracy is silence them" means the person correctly sussed out that you don't start drama with Walter Mosley.
    Dee
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    JaimieT said:
    Flukes said:
    My initial reaction is that the real problem here is the person who wouldn't just have a private conversation with Walter about their discomfort. That said...

    I think the fact that he quit his job and wrote an editorial subtitled "the worst thing you can do to citizens of a democracy is silence them" means the person correctly sussed out that you don't start drama with Walter Mosley.
    Definitely a fair point. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered if they approached him privately. I still think that's the right way to do it. At least there's a chance for dialogue.

    The person missing from this story is the head writer responsible for that room or whoever these colleagues report to.
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    edited September 10
    I made the mistake of only reading Mosley's Op-Ed before forming an opinion. 

    From https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/walter-mosley-quits-star-trek-discovery-using-n-word-writers-room-1237489 (edit: replaced MSN link with slightly less ad-ridden THR link)
    Sources say Mosley — who had been on staff for three weeks — suddenly stopped coming in to the Santa Monica-based Secret Hideout offices that serve as the writers rooms for DiscoveryPicard and multiple other Star Trek shows. Paradise and Kurtzman, who previously dismissed two Discovery showrunners after claims of abusive language and behavior, later learned that Mosley had quit the series without so much as a call to explain what happened. (It's worth noting that Discovery has a particularly inclusive writers room that includes three African American scribes, two Asian American writers, a Native American and Latinx woman, among others.)
    I still think this could have been handled better by the person who lodged the complaint, but I think @JaimieT may have hit on at least part of the the reason they didn't engage Mosley directly.  Also, given the troubled history of this room, I can see why a person might choose to immediately escalate to HR. I mean, last time they had to threaten to quit before anything was done.

    If the Hollywood Reporter description of the room's composition is accurate what really strikes me is the line from the Op-Ed where he says "I am the N-word in the writing room!" When I read his piece, I took this to mean he was the only black person in the room - now I don't know what it means. Maybe he felt poorly treated before this incident but didn't have anything specific to point to. 

    I would have loved to have a writer of his stature and accomplishment contribute to this show. The whole thing is pretty disappointing.


    JaimieT
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    Just to throw a little more mud in the water:

    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/kareem-abdul-jabbar-who-decides-who-s-allowed-say-n-word-1238332

    Jabbar asks "why was there no offense taken to the use of the derogatory 'paddy'?" and loses me immediately, even though he was making some of the same points I did in my first post. Is there anyone, white, Irish, or even Leprechaun who can earnestly equate "paddy" with the N-word?! 
  • Flukes said:
     Is there anyone, white, Irish, or even Leprechaun who can earnestly equate "paddy" with the N-word?! 
    No. All the attempts to equate any white "slur" with any actual slur against minorities is disingenuous. Just like people who say the washington redskins name and the chief wahoo mascot aren't racist unless the notre dame mascot is also racist. It's nothing but whataboutism because for some reason in the year of our lord 2019 people still want to be able to be racist without consequences. 
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    This is true today for sure, but you don't have to look too far into our past to find a time where slurs against "whites" had a lot of power to them. I mean, look at this shit... It just illustrates what a fucking shell game the whole concept of racial supremacy is. 

    Elisa
  • HunkuleseHunkulese Québec, Canada
    asmallcat said:
    Flukes said:
     Is there anyone, white, Irish, or even Leprechaun who can earnestly equate "paddy" with the N-word?! 
    No. All the attempts to equate any white "slur" with any actual slur against minorities is disingenuous. Just like people who say the washington redskins name and the chief wahoo mascot aren't racist unless the notre dame mascot is also racist. It's nothing but whataboutism because for some reason in the year of our lord 2019 people still want to be able to be racist without consequences. 
    Creating a hierarchy about which slurs are worse and which are fine to use isn't very constructive. How about we just agree that people shouldn't be using racial slurs at all.

    You also really need to brush up on your history with ridiculous statements that imply that if you're white, you can't be an actual minority. Irish people were treated like garbage for a long time. People have been prejudiced against Jews for even longer. Did you forget WWII? Do we really need to be comparing and contrasting how much a group has suffered through history to determine whether or not it's okay to use a slur against them in casual conversation?
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    edited September 11
    No, sorry - as John Mulaney says, if one of them is so bad that people won’t even say it, that’s the worse word. Calling a white person a paddy or a cracker or a skippy or whatever the white insult du jour is does not have anywhere near the connotations as calling a black person the n-word does, and pretending they are even in the same ballpark is bullshit whataboutism. 

    Having said that, there’s also a world of difference between a black person using that word and a white person using it.
    JaimieTElisa
  • HunkuleseHunkulese Québec, Canada
    edited September 11
    Dee said:
    No, sorry - as John Mulaney says, if one of them is so bad that people won’t even say it, that’s the worse word. Calling a white person a paddy or a cracker or a skippy or whatever the white insult du jour is does not have anywhere near the connotations as calling a black person the n-word does, and pretending they are even in the same ballpark is bullshit whataboutism. 

    Having said that, there’s also a world of difference between a black person using that word and a white person using it.
    That argument is also bullshit whataboutism. Being racist against Irish people is still being racist. Being racist against Jews is still being racist. Neither of those statements has anything to do with the racism against Black people. There's no whataboutism when you say racism is bad because there aren't two sides to that argument. Don't be racist. Don't use slurs.

    Saying being racist against the Irish isn't as bad as being racist against Blacks since they had it worse is basically the dictionary definition of whataboutism.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    edited September 11
    Where are all the Irish people being gunned down by cops? Where are all the Irish people being denied job interviews because they have an Irish sounding name? Where are all the Irish woman being given substandard medical care because they have the double whammy of being female and white? Where are all the Irish men who are more likely to be imprisoned for the same crime committed by a non-Irish man? Where is the ongoing systemic racism towards Irish people that still carries on to this day? 

    Don’t try to equate the two because it’s not the fucking same. 

    Jesus Christ. Bald Move people love to seem woke but this topic comes up and every single time the same thing happens. 

    Paddy is a fucking nickname these days. Who has a buddy called the N-word? 
    Flukes
  • HunkuleseHunkulese Québec, Canada
    edited September 11
    Dee said:
    Where are all the Irish people being gunned down by cops? Where are all the Irish people being denied job interviews because they have an Irish sounding name? Where are all the Irish woman being given substandard medical care because they have the double whammy of being female and white? Where are all the Irish men who are more likely to be imprisoned for the same crime committed by a non-Irish man? Where is the ongoing systemic racism towards Irish people that still carries on to this day? 

    Don’t try to equate the two because it’s not the fucking same. 

    Jesus Christ. Bald Move people love to seem woke but this topic comes up and every single time the same thing happens. 

    Paddy is a fucking nickname these days. Who has a buddy called the N-word? 
    No one is trying to equate the two, of course it's not the same, of course Blacks have/had it worse, but how is it woke to ignore racism against one group of people because another group of people have it worse? Just because the N word is probably the worst word in English doesn't make it fine to use any other derogatory words. Believing that racial slurs shouldn't be used doesn't normalize the N word.

    Obviously racism against the Irish isn't really a thing anymore, at least in America, but it was extremely prevalent in the past. Here's a decent article on it, from a black perspective.

    https://www.theroot.com/when-the-irish-weren-t-white-1793358754
  • edited September 11
    Yes, but you're completely missing the point - no Irish americans are still suffering economically and socially because of the past history of racism against the Irish. Several non-white minority groups, blacks and native americans especially, still suffer daily with the effects of past and current racism. So it's not remotely the same. When a black person calls a white person a cracker, it's a minor insult with no history or weight attached to it. When a white person calls a black person the n-word, there is substantial baggage attached, and black people are still suffering from being seen by a depressing large slice of white people as n-words. 

    And it's not ignoring racism to say that there's no racism against the Irish today, because there isn't any racism against them. 
    Elisa
  • Tangentially, this one episode of Billions shocked me when that horrible Attorney General referred to a character as a ”Guat,” but I’ve since noticed students of Mexican descent using it with some frequency to (gently?) deride their Guatemalan classmates. I don’t know if this is racist exactly or what, but stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes really have no limits, huh? 
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    You really can't strip the subjectivity out of language. We're always appealing to a nebulous common use and understanding, and words don't ever equal other words. Our attempt to categorize words is further use of language that is inherently flawed. 

    What I just wrote could be used as an argument to say the N-word is just a harmless noise, but that's just going another direction to eliminate the nuance. 
    Flukes
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    What surprised me was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -including this argument in his defence of Mosley. Not as much as KAJ being a writer on Veronica Mars, but still pretty surprised.

    I also heard Ify Nwadiwe,  a black comedian, talk about Mosely on a podcast this morning and assume he was the only black person in that room based on the Op Ed. The whole thing is awful and I the more I think about it and see others' reactions, the more I think Mosely did more damage than good with his piece.
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    edited September 11
    Hunkulese said:
    Saying being racist against the Irish isn't as bad as being racist against Blacks since they had it worse is basically the dictionary definition of whataboutism.
    Respectfully, I disagree. What we're talking about is Kareem Abdul Jabbar criticizing someone who was uncomfortable with the N-word for not also complaining about "Paddy". That is literally saying "what about this other thing? Why aren't you mad about this too?" That's whataboutism and, in my opinion, disingenuous.

    Seeing the differences between the two words and their implications, especially in a contemporary context, is the opposite.
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited September 12
    ken hale said:
    Tangentially, this one episode of Billions shocked me when that horrible Attorney General referred to a character as a ”Guat,” but I’ve since noticed students of Mexican descent using it with some frequency to (gently?) deride their Guatemalan classmates. I don’t know if this is racist exactly or what, but stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes really have no limits, huh? 


    Mexicans are dealing with lots of undocumented immigration from Central America, about 43% of Mexicans support deporting undocumented migrants.  I'm not sure there's tons of love lost.  As an aside, the US and Mexico appear to be the most undocumented immigrant tolerant countries surveyed in the OECD. 



  • That’s some very insightful background info! Like I said, I don’t know that what I’ve observed is actual prejudice or something less sinister, but I can imagine tensions are different between the two populations in Mexico. 
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