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

Mon, June 18, 2012 11:20am EDT by Andy Swift 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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