“Walter Mosley’s recent New York Times article,“Why I Quit the Writers’ Room,” detailing his contentious interaction with the HR department of a major entertainment studio that led to his quitting, should be required reading for every American because it addresses what constitutes free speech in the workplace, in schools and in the arts,” writes former NBA star and columnist for The Hollywood Reporter Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar continues, “To summarize, Mosley was telling a personal anecdote in the writers room of CBS [All Access’] ‘Star Trek: Discovery’: ‘I just told a story about a cop who explained to me, on the streets of Los Angeles, that he stopped all n—ers in paddy neighborhoods and all paddies in n—er neighborhoods, because they were usually up to no good.’ An unidentified writer in the room complained to human resources about his use of the n-word and HR admonished Mosley not to say the word again. He could write it in a script, they explained, but not say it aloud. Mosley’s response was to quit the show.”
Here’s Abdul-Jabbar’s big take-away: “This story is about scrutinizing inflexible policies for corporate convenience that result in curtailing the creative process and stifling individual speech that is focused on healing, not harming — and our responsibility to protect the difference.”
To read Abdul-Jabbar’s full column, please click here.
(screenshot from an interview on YouTube)