'Bunheads' Creator Responds To Shonda Rhimes' Diversity Criticism: 'It's A Shame'

Mon, June 18, 2012 11:20am EDT by 16 Comments
Bunheads diversity

Amy Sherman-Palladino thinks it’s wrong for Shonda to attack her show — or any show, for that matter. Which creator do you side with?

Bunheads creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has never been afraid to speak her mind, so it’s no surprise she’s got some choice words for Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, who just last week accused ABC Family’s new ballet-centric series of lacking diversity. “I think it’s a shame,” Amy tells Media Mayhem. “I wouldn’t go after another woman. Frankly, I wouldn’t go after another show.”

Though Amy admits it would be foolish to get into a “pissing match” with Shonda, who’s “doing just fine for herself,” she also points out that Shonda’s comments are merely part of a larger issue for women who work in television.

“I’ve also felt, in a general sense, that women have never supported women to the level that they should,” Amy explains. “It’s been my experience through my entire career that the biggest boost I’ve gotten … have always been from men. And I’ve worked for some powerful women.”

In case you’re not up to speed, here’s what Shonda tweeted June 11: “Hey @abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?”

Once she realized her comments were causing a disturbance in the Twitterverse, Shonda tweeted a few clarifications: “I def don’t feel bad when my kid watches white performers,” she wrote. “Not at all what I’m saying. …  I did love seeing girls of all shapes and sizes. That was great. Am a huge Gilmore Girls fan. Just pointing out one issue.”

As this discussion continues, I’m worried that too many different issues are being mixed together. For one thing, I’m not sure I agree with interviewer Allison Hope Weiner for turning this into a women-attacking-women situation, rather than keeping it as a creators-attacking-creators situation. I think the relationship between female creators is an entirely separate argument, though one definitely worth exploring, and Amy did a terrific job of distinguishing it as such.

For the record, ABC Family is famous for having strong women running its most popular shows. I was in attendance for the network’s winter upfront presentation in New York, where the panel featured women like Brenda Hampton (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Marlene King (Pretty Little Liars) Lizzy Weiss (Switched At Birth), as well as Amy — and they all had the greatest respect for one another’s work.

Watch Amy’s full interview below, then vote, and tell us how you feel in the comments section:

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Terri Lucas

Posted at 1:13 AM on September 29, 2012  

Are u kidding me? I thought diversity was what this country stands for? If your Brazilian, Italian etc your are basically considered white. No matter how good the show is kids like to see a representative of themselves. Sure you wouldn’t feel that way if you replaced all the whites on tv with people of color. BET does not generally have family shows and besides its cable.

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me

Posted at 11:35 PM on September 27, 2012  

Bits
Ur stupid.

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Kenzie

Posted at 4:01 AM on July 9, 2012  

I do not scream or complain when a person of my race happens to be not be on a show. Actually, Julia Goldani Telles who is an actress on this show, is the first girl in a while that I’ve seen on Tv who is Brazillian, though I’m half Portuguese. But I don’t do these types of things. I think most women of color are too comfortable with screaming and crying and sometimes you really just need to give it a rest already. It’s so old and overdone already. There’s nothing more unattractive then someone whining and acting all “why me, boohoo”. It’s just silly. There are also plenty of African American shows w/no “white” people on them either, so it’s pretty silly to only point the finger at one side. Sometimes these people need to step back & look at the bigger picture.

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bits

Posted at 9:19 AM on July 11, 2012  

I very interested in knowing about the “plenty of african-american shows” on MAIN STREAM television “w/no white people”.

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genkiliz

Posted at 8:27 PM on June 18, 2012  

The girl who plays Sasha is actually Brazilian. Apparently, a girl who was not even born in the US and is from a Latin American country isn’t considered “of color.” But then again, whenever there are complaints about a lack of diversity, the real meaning is that there are not enough black characters on a given program. If you want to talk about really under-represented populations, why don’t we wonder why there have only been a handful of shows featuring Asian characters as the leads (and Asian men as the romantic lead are even rarer!) or muslim characters, or Indian characters. You want to bemoan a lack of diversity, fine. But don’t define define diversity as black and ignore the rest of us!

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Carla

Posted at 4:35 PM on June 18, 2012  

Yawn. I agree with Amy. At what point will women just support each other in this business. This is nonsense. I’m happen to be from Costa Rica. My daughter and I watched this show, and not once did I wonder why there were no women of color. That’s me though. I don’t look with an eye to racism in everything I watch on TV.

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Sandy

Posted at 1:46 PM on June 18, 2012  

This should be no surprise. Gilmore Girls was all white too. Bottom line….it’s their option NOT to have any diversity, but it is also MY option NOT to watch this lame show. No worries..it will soon be cancelled.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 2:44 PM on June 18, 2012  

Whoa… diversity issues aside, Bunheads is far from a lame show. Have you watched it? It’s really good.

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mariann

Posted at 6:16 AM on July 8, 2012  

there were a lot of asians on gg so there was no diversity issue maybe not african american (that i can remember) but the cast was not completely american(white)

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Sandy

Posted at 4:07 AM on July 9, 2012  

Well if you don’t like this “lame” show then don’t watch it. But honestly, you shouldn’t take it personal. I could take things personal also but I won’t and I don’t. I’m not some silly spoiled child who waves the race flag at everything like some silly brat. Why don’t you grow up a little…?

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Nick

Posted at 1:46 PM on June 18, 2012  

Amy did close to an hour interview on the show and had other interesting things to say. It is worth checking out: http://bit.ly/MKVY5b

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Kayla

Posted at 12:56 PM on June 18, 2012  

Leave the show alone so what if there was not “Color” in the show leave the show be as it was good the way it is. I did see Sutton Foster dance with a black man on the end. Race is not everything people.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 2:45 PM on June 18, 2012  

lol I’d hardly call the one black guy at the end of the pilot a defense for “diversity,” but I am disappointed that the show itself is being overshadowed by these debates.

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Beth

Posted at 11:35 AM on June 18, 2012  

Of course a black woman is going to complain. There doesn’t need to be diversity on every show. Seriously?

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Salma

Posted at 4:10 AM on July 9, 2012  

If that were the case they’d follow their own bS and there’d be white people on BET. But there’s not. -.-

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bits

Posted at 9:32 AM on July 11, 2012  

the whole BET argument is so old and irrelevant. thats like saying white people don’t have a “white history month”. White history is all that is taught in American schools and the worlds itself. Wake up! the white wash of hollywood is a real problem especially considering the fact that most people are fickle and believe everything that they see on t.v. if all that is televised and released in theaters is the glory and stories of white people then inevitably the beauty of diversity is lost and we are dependent on a one sided point of view. that is un-american and un-human.

 
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