Shonda Rhimes and her longtime producing partner Betsy Beers were honored Saturday at the Directors Guild of America Awards with the Diversity Award for their colorblind casting on shows like Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal.
However, Rhimes admitted at the awards show that she didn't exactly feel like celebrating her win. "When I heard I was getting a Diversity Award, I was really, truly, profoundly honored. I began to get calls from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc., and I was asked to comment on the award. Asked how good I felt about the award. Asked if it made me feel like I was doing the right thing. Asked if it had been a struggle making diversity happen on my cast and crews. While I'm still really and truly profoundly honored to receive this award, but I was also a little pissed off," Rhimes said, according to Entertainment Weekly. "So was Betsy. So over many, many, many bottles of wine we discussed this.
"We're a little pissed off because there still needs to be an award. Like, there's such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award."
Check out more of the winners from Saturday's DGA Awards
Rhimes blamed the lack of diversity on, not a lack of talent, but a lack of access in an industry where, she says, people tend to hire familiar faces. "If it's been a white boys club for 70 years, that's a lot of white boys hiring one another. And I don't believe that that happens out of any specific racism or sexism or prejudice. People hire their friends. They hire who they know. It's comfortable. You want to be successful, you don't want to take any chances, you don't want to rock the boat by hiring people of color because, well, look at us," Rhimes said. "Both Betsy and I like the world that we work in to look like the world that we live in. Different voices make for different visions. Different visions make for something original. Original is what the public is starving for."
However, Rhimes went on to praise the DGA for shining a light on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. "Betsy and I are truly honored and humbled that the DGA would thank our efforts. And yes, we're a tiny bit pissed off that there needs to be an award," Rhimes said. "We're also proud that the DGA recognizes a problem and are trying to fix it. The DGA, by the way, is the only Guild giving out this type of award in an attempt to draw attention to the problem, which I think is kind of bada--."
Rhimes and Beers received a standing ovation from the crowd. What do you think of Rhimes' comments?