“These people who are already insecure about losing their job switch on the TV, look at the newspaper and hear that they are being described as bigots, racists,” said Sullivan, who was speaking to a packed audience of industry professionals, including some of the town’s biggest names, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. “And they resent it, and the one thing I would urge you people who do this type of content is try and complete the idea of ‘the other’ being in the room because they can hear what you are saying.”
Moments later, the author and New York magazine columnist doubled down on his idea, saying: “Don’t tell them everything is good. That you deserve it and that you are all basically slaveholders under their skin blah, blah, blah, which is what Hollywood is saying to them every second of the day.” Those comments, which were met with audible gasps, set the stage for an immensely tense 20-minute panel which ended in Sullivan being shouted at by an audience member, prompting the moderator to step in and end the panel.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter during the daylong event’s lunch break, Sullivan, who is no stranger to controversy, was not surprised. “I said what I wanted to say,” he said. “When you’re a struggling, white working-class person in say, Kentucky, and a Yale student says, ‘You have white privilege,’ what do you think happens? [Donald] Trump gets elected — that’s what happens. And they don’t seem to understand any of the lessons from the last time and I don’t want [Trump] to be re-elected, but I don’t think the left is helping and I don’t think Hollywood is helping.”
“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”