Earlier this week, the New York Times' TV critic Alessandra Stanley wrote what many critics and pretty much all of Twitter considered an "imbecilic," "disastrous," self-contradicting review of ABC's upcoming Shonda Rhimes–produced show How to Get Away With Murder. (The piece's first line is, "When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called 'How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.'") Slate's Willa Paskin wrote that Stanley missed the point; Vox called it "careless and obtuse"; and Vulture's very own Margaret Lyons did a paragraph-by-paragraph riposte calling the article "inaccurate, tone-deaf, muddled, and racist." The article also spawned two Twitter hashtags, #IWasAnAngryBlackWoman and #LessClassicallyBeautiful.
Here's a roundup of some of the best celebrity tweets in response to the article. As Rhimes herself might say: Boom.
First, in case you missed it, here is Rhimes's reaction:
Final thing: (then I am gonna do some yoga): how come I am not "an angry black woman" the many times Meredith (or Addison!) rants? @nytimes— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 19, 2014
Wait. I'm" angry" AND a ROMANCE WRITER?!! I'm going to need to put down the internet and go dance this one out. Because ish is getting real.— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 19, 2014
And here's how some of her cast members responded. (It should be noted many active Twitter users were disappointingly silent on the issue. We won't name-check you, but you know who you are):
You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise!!!— Viola Davis (@violadavis) September 20, 2014
@nytimes you set the world back with a review of a television show based around the RACE of the lead. Is the show good tv or not?— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) September 19, 2014
Many other celebrities were outraged, as well.
Wow. Did I just read a @nytimes piece that reduced my brilliant, creative, compassionate, thoughtful, badass boss to an “angry black woman?”— Joshua Malina (@JoshMalina) September 19, 2014
Debating with someone over my boss's allegedly clear "agenda." Psst! Aaron Sorkin has four series with white male leads! What's HIS agenda?— JC Fernandez (@obijuanca) September 19, 2014
That @nytimes article offended me to my soul. It diminished the gifts of every black woman mentioned. Yet I'm surprised I was so surprised.— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) September 20, 2014
Me and the other ladies in my section of the acting trenches have seen it and lived it long enough to know how it goes. But still... damn.— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) September 20, 2014
Stanley responded to all this in 176 characters: "The whole point of the piece — once you read past the first 140 characters — is to praise Shonda Rhimes for pushing back so successfully on a tiresome but insidious stereotype." Alright, then.