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Tags racial incidents , racial issues , racial slurs , Walter Mosley

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Old 8th September 2019, 06:34 PM   #1
Graham2001
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Author Walter Mosley Quits 'Star Trek: Discovery' After Using N-Word in Writers Room

I am linking to this article because Walter Mosely's Op-Ed is behind a paywall.



Quote:
Author Walter Mosley penned an op-ed for The New York Times, published on Friday, in which he revealed that he quit his job as a writer on a television series after he was "chastised" by human resources for using the N-word on the job.

Although Mosley, who is black, did not reveal which show he departed, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that it was CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery. That series, renewed in February for its third season with its third showrunner, has experienced serious issues of abusive language in its writers room in the past.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/li...s-room-1237489


If the above article is correct he was using the 'N-Word' to describe himself not anyone else in the room nor was he using it in a way intended to demean anyone.


But of course someone was 'Offended' and demanded an adult (Human Resources) take the 'nasty thing' away.
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Old 8th September 2019, 07:07 PM   #2
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In before someone white tries to somehow use this incident as proof that it's not racist for white people to use the n-word and/or wrong to criticize them for doing so.
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Old 8th September 2019, 07:32 PM   #3
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I have always admired Mosely. Was the show so unfamiliar with who he is, and who he represents in his writings?
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Old 8th September 2019, 07:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
In before someone white tries to somehow use this incident as proof that it's not racist for white people to use the n-word and/or wrong to criticize them for doing so.

Ya I'm sure you beat a dozen posters to the punch.

I clicked this thread but now that I know the story it doesn't interest me.
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Old 8th September 2019, 08:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Graham2001 View Post
But of course someone was 'Offended' and demanded an adult (Human Resources) take the 'nasty thing' away.
Not only are you taking one side of the story at face value, but you’re greatly exaggerating what was claimed to have happened.

And I’m sure that like most people who complain about other people complaining, the irony of your melodramatic overreaction is lost on you.
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Old 8th September 2019, 08:41 PM   #6
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According to the story, as reported in the link:

Quote:
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that season three showrunners Alex Kurtzman — who sources say personally recruited Mosley to the Discovery room — and Michelle Paradise were informed of the complaint via human resources but were not present for the incident in which Mosley allegedly used the N-word multiple times. Sources note that HR called Mosley to inform the acclaimed writer and novelist that typical use of that word was a fireable offense but there was to be no course of action taken against him. Instead, HR informed Mosley that a writer in the room was uncomfortable with it and effectively wanted to ensure he was aware of the studio's policy.

"Earlier this year, I had just finished with the Snowfall writers’ room for the season when I took a similar job on a different show at a different network. I’d been in the new room for a few weeks when I got the call from human resources. A pleasant-sounding young man said, 'Mr. Mosley, it has been reported that you used the n-word in the writers’ room,'" Mosley wrote in the Times. "I replied, 'I am the N-word in the writers’ room.'"
It sounds like it wasn't being treated as a big deal. HR only wanted to say that the word is not usually used except as part of the job, such as with a script, and that they had only called him to let him know the policy.

So he believed he had special license to use the word, and being told he doesn't is for him unacceptable.

I am pretty sure there are all kinds of rules in most workplaces about what constitutes acceptable language and what doesn't. The writer should realize that just because he is okay with the word, it doesn't mean everyone else has to be.
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Old 8th September 2019, 10:04 PM   #7
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Bloke uses word repeatedly in a workplace that is deemed unacceptable in any environment other than certain social environments and music lyrics, other staff say it isn't on, they get pushed/decide to leave.

Is it a slow news day in the US?
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Old 8th September 2019, 10:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
In before someone white tries to somehow use this incident as proof that it's not racist for white people to use the n-word and/or wrong to criticize them for doing so.

Huh? You do realize that Walter Mosely is an African-American author...
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Old 8th September 2019, 11:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
In before someone white tries to somehow use this incident as proof that it's not racist for white people to use the n-word and/or wrong to criticize them for doing so.
Are you saying that it is racist for a non-black person to use the "N" word at all times and in all contexts?
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Old 8th September 2019, 11:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Graham2001 View Post
Huh? You do realize that Walter Mosely is an African-American author...
Indeed, the OP's quote even mentioned it.

Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Are you saying that it is racist for a non-black person to use the "N" word at all times and in all contexts?
lol
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Old 9th September 2019, 12:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
lol
LOL!

Mine's capitalized - does that mean I win?
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"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt
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Old 9th September 2019, 01:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Are you saying that it is racist for a non-black person to use the "N" word at all times and in all contexts?
In all but a very few contexts, specifically playing a racist on film or tv or in a play, or reading aloud a text quoting a racist.

In pretty much all other contexts, it's pretty racist.
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Old 9th September 2019, 01:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Indeed, the OP's quote even mentioned it.



lol
Do you know what they used to call Brazil Nuts back in the day?
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Old 9th September 2019, 01:37 AM   #14
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Seems like some sort of black privilege is at the root of this.
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Old 9th September 2019, 02:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
In all but a very few contexts, specifically playing a racist on film or tv or in a play, or reading aloud a text quoting a racist.

In pretty much all other contexts, it's pretty racist.
I think we are in agreement about context being the deciding factor.
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Old 9th September 2019, 02:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
In all but a very few contexts, specifically playing a racist on film or tv or in a play, or reading aloud a text quoting a racist.



In pretty much all other contexts, it's pretty racist.
And whether there is any logic or reason to it some words some people don't like. Look at this place with its auto censor, that's here because the originator of this forum didn't like certain words to be splashed all over the forum. His house, his rules. At work you aren't at your house so you do have to follow the consensus, the rules in the workplace, and if you don't there are consequences. In this case it seems he simply wasn't happy having to follow the same rules as everyone else so he left. Don't see the big deal myself.
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Old 9th September 2019, 02:42 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
And whether there is any logic or reason to it some words some people don't like. Look at this place with its auto censor, that's here because the originator of this forum didn't like certain words to be splashed all over the forum. His house, his rules. At work you aren't at your house so you do have to follow the consensus, the rules in the workplace, and if you don't there are consequences. In this case it seems he simply wasn't happy having to follow the same rules as everyone else so he left. Don't see the big deal myself.
I think this is a bit complicated. It's a question of ownership of words. The n-word is a word where I don't think it's use should be dictated by people who haven't been targeted by it.

That said, I also think one should be mindful of the comfort level of people around one's self. If you are saying things that make people uncomfortable, maybe you should at least take into consideration not to say those things.

Maybe they should have all sat down and talked about this instead of taking it to the media.
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Old 9th September 2019, 03:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I am pretty sure there are all kinds of rules in most workplaces about what constitutes acceptable language and what doesn't. The writer should realize that just because he is okay with the word, it doesn't mean everyone else has to be.

Err Mosely is black, and he used the word to describe himself - he has the absolute right to use a pejorative to describe himself if he so chooses and no-one else has any right to be offended by that.

We've had this discussion before. I am 100% deaf in one ear. I hate the use of PC descriptions such as "hard of hearing" or "aurally disadvantaged". When people use such terms in reference to me, they usually get a ******* earful (if I hear them).
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
And whether there is any logic or reason to it some words some people don't like. Look at this place with its auto censor, that's here because the originator of this forum didn't like certain words to be splashed all over the forum. His house, his rules. At work you aren't at your house so you do have to follow the consensus, the rules in the workplace, and if you don't there are consequences. In this case it seems he simply wasn't happy having to follow the same rules as everyone else so he left. Don't see the big deal myself.
I don't like the word "Hello". Reminds me of the other word that has no "o" on the end and upsets my religious sensibilities. You are working in a company that respects my religious beliefs and you must stop using it. Period.
BTW - my friend does not like the word "but" because that is the last word her grandfather said before he died. Not only that - but as a religious person that word reminds me of the other word that has another "t" on the end and that is offensive because it reminds me of a sexual innuendo that was once used in my presence.
Thank goodness my workplace is so progressive and protects everyone's most sensitive sensibilities!

Oh yes - and before I forget - your name is offensive. It it reminiscent of the the old Dudley Do-right cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid. The character Snidely Whiplash used to exclaim "Drat!" when he was defeated and hearing that brings back memories of my cat that died when the TV fell on him. Dreadful!
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
I think this is a bit complicated. It's a question of ownership of words. The n-word is a word where I don't think it's use should be dictated by people who haven't been targeted by it.



That said, I also think one should be mindful of the comfort level of people around one's self. If you are saying things that make people uncomfortable, maybe you should at least take into consideration not to say those things.



Maybe they should have all sat down and talked about this instead of taking it to the media.
Talked about what? He was in breach of the rules, there was nothing to talk about, all the issue was is whether he was going to accept the work rules at the company he was working at.

I've done a lot of consultation work over the decades and that means with every company I work with when working for the company I have to abide with their rules and practices. If I didn't my contract would have been terminated.
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:34 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Err Mosely is black, and he used the word to describe himself - he has the absolute right to use a pejorative to describe himself if he so chooses and no-one else has any right to be offended by that.



We've had this discussion before. I am 100% deaf in one ear. I hate the use of PC descriptions such as "hard of hearing" or "aurally disadvantaged". When people use such terms in reference to me, they usually get a ******* earful (if I hear them).
Hard of hearing predates any form of PC by decades.
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:38 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Err Mosely is black, and he used the word to describe himself - he has the absolute right to use a pejorative to describe himself if he so chooses and no-one else has any right to be offended by that.
Yes, I know he is black. He is not the only person in the world who is black, however. Why does he get to use the term in a workplace that may also have other black people?

I disagree that he has the "absolute right" to use a pejorative to describe himself if the workplace bans the word and makes it a fireable offence. Could you explain to me where this absolute right is enshrined?

Similarly, could you show me how it is that "no-one else has any right to be offended"? How are these rights distributed?

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
We've had this discussion before.
Who is this "we"? And so what if this has been discussed before?

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I am 100% deaf in one ear. I hate the use of PC descriptions such as "hard of hearing" or "aurally disadvantaged". When people use such terms in reference to me, they usually get a ******* earful (if I hear them).
So what? That only tells me about your temperament. It doesn't demonstrate any of these "rights" that you seem to believe exist.
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:38 AM   #23
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It's a workplace.
It's pretty irrelevant whether he is OK with using the word, even if aimed at himself.

If I spent a work meeting being a sweary-Mary, and calling myself, I don't know, a useless ****** several times, I would not be at all surprised to have someone suggest I not do that anymore.
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:43 AM   #24
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Kind of agree with Darat on this one.

While apparently writers rooms can be notoriously low blow humour places, because frankly they have to be to create an atmosphere of creating humour, there are limits, like every other workplace.

I read Ken Levine's blog for quite a while. Recommend btw. Wrote for MASH, Cheers, Frasier among others, and a certain amount of gratuitous stuff is necessary for the creative process, just repeating the same crap as this dude apparently did in the presence of people who found it offensive seems a tad OTT.
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:43 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Talked about what? He was in breach of the rules, there was nothing to talk about, all the issue was is whether he was going to accept the work rules at the company he was working at.
I agree that he was in breach of the rules. The bosses said that nothing would be done about it, tho. Seems to me they could have gathered around and talked like adults.

"- Bob is uncomfortable with your usage of the n-word around the writer's room.

- I'm only refering to myself, and I don't appreciate white people telling black people when and where they can use the n-word.

- Granted, and we have decided that we're going to have a conversation about the use of the n-word so that everyone can appreciate each others' viewpoints."

Not everything needs to lead to a racial incident, at least where well intentioned people are involved.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I've done a lot of consultation work over the decades and that means with every company I work with when working for the company I have to abide with their rules and practices. If I didn't my contract would have been terminated.
I agree. It's important to follow company policy. This is a bit special however, in my opinion, as we're talking about a known author brought onboard to consult on a tv-show, and the author's views are well known in advance.
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Old 9th September 2019, 04:55 AM   #26
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Call me old fashioned, but I was raised to believe it was always an ugly, offensive word in any context, and still do. I get the idea of taking 'ownership' of it, but it doesn't make it any prettier or acceptable. My father had hoped it would one day fall completely out of use. He'd be heartbroken today.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:14 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
I don't like the word "Hello". Reminds me of the other word that has no "o" on the end and upsets my religious sensibilities. You are working in a company that respects my religious beliefs and you must stop using it. Period.
BTW - my friend does not like the word "but" because that is the last word her grandfather said before he died. Not only that - but as a religious person that word reminds me of the other word that has another "t" on the end and that is offensive because it reminds me of a sexual innuendo that was once used in my presence.
Thank goodness my workplace is so progressive and protects everyone's most sensitive sensibilities!

Oh yes - and before I forget - your name is offensive. It it reminiscent of the the old Dudley Do-right cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid. The character Snidely Whiplash used to exclaim "Drat!" when he was defeated and hearing that brings back memories of my cat that died when the TV fell on him. Dreadful!
Are they the rules at your workplace that no one can say hello? Have you been contacted by the HR department to let you know this?
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:18 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
I agree that he was in breach of the rules. The bosses said that nothing would be done about it, tho. Seems to me they could have gathered around and talked like adults.

"- Bob is uncomfortable with your usage of the n-word around the writer's room.

- I'm only refering to myself, and I don't appreciate white people telling black people when and where they can use the n-word.

- Granted, and we have decided that we're going to have a conversation about the use of the n-word so that everyone can appreciate each others' viewpoints."

Not everything needs to lead to a racial incident, at least where well intentioned people are involved.



I agree. It's important to follow company policy. This is a bit special however, in my opinion, as we're talking about a known author brought onboard to consult on a tv-show, and the author's views are well known in advance.
He wasn't as far as I am aware press ganged so he choose to work at that place, he doesn't like their rules so he left. That seems a very sensible approach that is the same choice we all have to make everytime we take on a new job, even self employed like myself have to make that call.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:20 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
Call me old fashioned, but I was raised to believe it was always an ugly, offensive word in any context, and still do. I get the idea of taking 'ownership' of it, but it doesn't make it any prettier or acceptable. My father had hoped it would one day fall completely out of use. He'd be heartbroken today.
My Father was "that kind" of liberal too.
I could use general profanity at a relatively young age without repercussion, but the "N" word would get me in trouble.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:21 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
He wasn't as far as I am aware press ganged so he choose to work at that place, he doesn't like their rules so he left. That seems a very sensible approach that is the same choice we all have to make everytime we take on a new job, even self employed like myself have to make that call.
True enough.

I just think it's a bit sad. I very much doubt either party had ill intentions.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:24 AM   #31
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I behave differently at work than I do when not at work. It's called "professionalism". A lot of people believe they are too grand and too important to bother with being professional. They are the ones who are most surprised when their actions result in negative consequences.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:37 AM   #32
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I don't know, if you are an artist of Mosley's caliber, I think you get to use whatever words you feel you need to use.

If Maya Angelou called herself the N word, i'd completely understand. Mosley, same thing. They know more about words and writing than anyone making the decisions on whether they can use it or not.

Also, simply because it is not allowed, would push artists of that caliber to use the word.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:39 AM   #33
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You tell any respectable artist they can't use a certain color, because it offends some people, they are probably going to use the color.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:41 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
You tell any respectable artist they can't use a certain color, because it offends some people, they are probably going to use the color.
Then they shouldn't be hired to paint a mural using specific colors. Great artists can do their greatness on their own time.
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Old 9th September 2019, 05:41 AM   #35
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I'm not sure we should be mourning a change in culture occurring in Hollywood. Sure, maybe on in the past the writer's room was a uninhibited, free-wheeling creative space where anything goes. Much of show business is very "casual", but it is increasingly clear that it was also rife with abuse. People using the casual nature as a way to grossly cross all boundaries of good taste.

I'm not saying that this writer committed some great offense. But if there is one industry in this country that could benefit from more regimentation of workplace norms, it's probably Hollywood. Maybe that means that these jobs become less relaxed and open, but if it is a part of cleaning up the absolute cess pit that is Hollywood, it will be well worth it.
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Old 9th September 2019, 06:33 AM   #36
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Ok, maybe I'm missing something here...

Talented writer uses the n-word referring to himself. HR pulls him aside and says 'dude, you really can't do that'. Writer quits. Doesn't like to be told what do do, I guess?

Is there some dilemma here? Some travesty? Something unfair? I guess you could say it was unfair to the show that he quit for such a trivial reason. I dunno.

Was the HR dude white? That would be kind of funny, in a way. But it seems there was a HR guy doing his job, politely and discretely, and a well-known writer with plenty of employment options (no financial distress resulting from this, I assume) who doesn't like rules and quit.

So...sorry to be dense, but what's the issue? Whether a black man can use the n-word. He can. Whether a company can remind a worker that they do not allow the use of slurs in the workplace? They can. Did HR make a spectacle or do something inappropriate? They didn't. Sooooo.....?
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Old 9th September 2019, 06:36 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
You tell any respectable artist they can't use a certain color, because it offends some people, they are probably going to use the color.
I wasn't aware "Contrarian douchebag" was a requirement to be a "respectable artist."

If I hire a chef with the explicit requirement that he not crap in the salad bar and he craps in the salad bar solely because I told him not to, he's just an ass, not some outside the box thinker keeping it real for the squares who can't handle his realness.
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Old 9th September 2019, 06:40 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I wasn't aware "Contrarian douchebag" was a requirement to be a "respectable artist."

If I hire a chef with the explicit requirement that he not crap in the salad bar and he craps in the salad bar solely because I told him not to, he's just an ass, not some outside the box thinker keeping it real for the squares who can't handle his realness.
What is it with you and enpooped salad bars? This isn't the first time you've employed that simile. Did you have a regrettable experience dining out? If there's a story behind this I think it's time to let us in on it.
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Old 9th September 2019, 06:43 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Ok, maybe I'm missing something here...

Talented writer uses the n-word referring to himself. HR pulls him aside and says 'dude, you really can't do that'. Writer quits. Doesn't like to be told what do do, I guess?

Is there some dilemma here? Some travesty? Something unfair? I guess you could say it was unfair to the show that he quit for such a trivial reason. I dunno.

Was the HR dude white? That would be kind of funny, in a way. But it seems there was a HR guy doing his job, politely and discretely, and a well-known writer with plenty of employment options (no financial distress resulting from this, I assume) who doesn't like rules and quit.

So...sorry to be dense, but what's the issue? Whether a black man can use the n-word. He can. Whether a company can remind a worker that they do not allow the use of slurs in the workplace? They can. Did HR make a spectacle or do something inappropriate? They didn't. Sooooo.....?
The problem is, you are in a creative environment, where people's experiences are supposed to be cherished, and you told one of the greatest writers he can't tell a story with certain words.
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Old 9th September 2019, 06:45 AM   #40
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I have a strong sense that whatever argument could be made about this incident, whether it's "PC gone mad" or "Edgy ******* writer" any real evaluation would hinge on the specifics of what was said by any parties involved, and how, and when.

I could easily imagine it going down a number of ways, and I can't work up to getting worked up about it, knowing that any possible reason to be outraged would be in those details that will almost certainly not be made public.
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