Acclaimed author and Edgar Allan Poe Award winner Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress, Snowfall) quit CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery after he was told not to use the N-Word, “except for in a script.” Mosley revealed that an H.R. representative contacted him in response to a complaint received from someone in the writer’s room.
Mosley penned an op-ed for the New York Times titled ‘Why I Quit The Writers’ Room,’ published Sept. 6, in which he disclosed that he had used the word while recounting a story from his past. “I had indeed said the word in the room. I hadn’t called anyone it,” said the Snowfall consulting producer and writer. “I just told a story about a cop who explained to me, on the streets of Los Angeles, that he stopped all n—ers in paddy neighborhoods and all paddies in n—ers neighborhoods, because they were usually up to no good,” Mosley wrote. “I was telling a true story as I remembered it.”
Mosley, who is African-American and Jewish, was told by the H.R. representative that his use of the word had made someone in the writer’s room uncomfortable. “My answer to H.R. was to resign and move on,” he stated.
He expressed that as a black man in America he shares with many others the history of racism and subhuman treatment, and condoned how “if addressed at all that history had to be rendered in words my employers regarded as acceptable.”
Though he wasn’t terminated, Mosely expressed his distaste for continuing to work in the show’s writer’s room. “My every word would be scrutinized. Sooner or later I’d be fired or worse — silenced.”
It is also important to note that Discovery is a show known for its fairly inclusive writers’ room with a number of African-American, Native American, Latinx, Asian-American and Indigenous-American scribe staffers, according to Deadline.
CBS TV Studios responded to the author’s op-ed in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, on Sept. 6. “We have the greatest admiration for Mr. Mosley’s writing talents and were excited to have him join Star Trek: Discovery,” the studio said in the statement which did not disclose specifics of the incident. “We are committed to supporting a workplace where employees feel free to express concerns and where they feel comfortable performing their best work. We wish Mr. Mosley much continued success.”
Discovery, renewed for a third season this year, has previously broken barriers by casting Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead), an African-American woman as the lead. She was joined by Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians), who became the first Asian female to play lead within the Star Trek anthology.