Only in Hollywood: White male director glad to be discriminated against

Robert Duncan McNeil was an actor on Star Trek Voyager.  He also directed some episodes.  He seemed like a natural, therefore, to direct an episode of the latest Star Trek series, Star Trek Discovery.  But the show, which killed off its only white male heterosexual character last season, isn't on the market for white male directors, McNeil was told.  That's okay, because McNeil thinks it's great to be discriminated against!

I wanted to direct Discovery.  I met with their producing director.  I didn't know the show that well, but I met with him on their last hiatus to talk about season two.  I also produce now.  So, I hire a lot of directors.  The last few years, there's been a seismic shift in terms of the priorities toward female and diverse directors.  That reality now has meant that what used to be normal, which was a lot of white guys, to be quite honest, has changed.  Some shows are mostly women directing.  I think Jessica Jones, last year, had all female directors.  Handmaid's Tale.  A woman may direct the next Star Trek movie.  Most importantly, it's a wonderful thing that's happening.  I'm proud that on other shows I've produced – The Gifted, The Arrangement, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce – I've brought in female directors.  But, to answer your question, Discovery does a limited number of episodes and a priority there is to get female and diverse directors, so there are fewer opportunities for people like me, which is a great thing.

A great thing, heh heh.  I wonder if McNeil genuinely believes that or feels he just has to say that so he won't be entirely blacklisted from directors' jobs.  I guess "blacklisted" takes on an entirely new meaning when it means that white people are being discriminated against.

Actor Terry Gilliam experienced the same thing when he was told that a show like Monty Python could never be made again because it had too many white male actors.  His response?  He wants to become a black lesbian.

In response to a question about Monty Python's Flying Circus, [BBC executive Shane] Allen said: "If you're going to assemble a team now, it's not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes.  It's going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world."

... Gilliam said: "It made me cry: the idea that ... no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show.  Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented[.] ... [T]his is b‑‑‑‑‑‑‑.  I no longer want to be a white male, I don't want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I'm a black lesbian[.] ... My name is Loretta and I'm a BLT, a black lesbian in transition."

I wonder.  Now that racial discrimination is hitting white liberals, will it change their attitudes toward affirmative action?  Probably not.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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