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Shonda Rhimes hates that we need a Diversity Award

'Scandal' creator Shonda Rhimes says she's frustrated that a lack of diversity means there's a need for such an award.

By
Gabrielle Levy
Producers Shonda Rhimes (R) and Betsy Beers, recipients of the Diversity Award arrive for the 66th annual Directors Guild of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles on January 25, 2014. UPI/Jim Ruymen
Producers Shonda Rhimes (R) and Betsy Beers, recipients of the Diversity Award arrive for the 66th annual Directors Guild of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles on January 25, 2014. UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Shonda Rhimes is honored to be the latest recipient of the Diversity Award, except for the part where such an award needs to exist.

The Scandal creator and her executive producer Betsy Beers were handed the honor at the Directors Guild of America Awards Sunday, but their acceptance speech was not the usual "thank you" and "I'm speechless."

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“When I heard I was getting a Diversity Award, I was really, truly, profoundly honored... While I’m still really and truly profoundly honored to receive this award, but I was also a little pissed off,” Rhimes said. “So was Betsy. So over many, many, many bottles of wine we discussed this.”

Rhimes and Beers, whose casts in Scandal, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice have consistently been among the most diverse in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation, said they were more than frustrated that their standard practices are so rare they need to be recognized.

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"We’re a little pissed off because there still needs to be an award," she continued. "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.”

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"It’s not because of a lack of talent. It’s because of a lack of access," she said. "People hire who they know. 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,” she said.

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“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.”

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