People magazine deletes racist tweet about Viola Davis

They reportedly tweeted it just ahead of the "How to Get Away With Murder" premiere

Published September 26, 2014 4:33PM (EDT)


The media continues to be confounded by people of color, it seems: On the heels of Alessandra Stanley's horribly offensive New York Times article about Shonda Rhimes, People magazine issued a racist tweet about "How to Get Away With Murder" star Viola Davis.

People, like many media outlets, was live-tweeting the Shondaland Thursday night lineup on ABC, including new show "How to Get Away With Murder," executive produced by Rhimes. "Murder" stars the Academy Award-nominated Davis as ruthless law professor Annalise Keating, but all People wanted from Davis was Aibileen Clark, the maid she played in "The Help":

[embedtweet id="515335568868126720"]

Why is it so hard not to draw upon caricatures when talking about black women? Jezebel, which captured the tweet before it was deleted, shared some reactions, too:

[embedtweet id="515344309474689024"]

[embedtweet id="515334963756290048"]

[embedtweet id="515344102536511489"]

Just like the Times' piece, the tweet underscores a larger problem of lack of diversity and lack of racial awareness within the media world. The Times has responded to the fiasco by acknowledging its need for diversity. People, on the other hand, is currently fielding a lawsuit from a fired black editor that claims that the magazine is racist. In August, former senior editor Tatsha Robertson filed a lawsuit that called People "a discriminatory organization run entirely by white people who intentionally focus the magazine on stories involving white people and white celebrities" and cites statistics about the organization: 0f 100 staff members, only five were black, and "since 2010, only 14 out of 265 covers have been focused on African-American individuals."

h/t Jezebel

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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How To Get Away With Murder People Magazine Tweet Twitter Viola Davis