Stephen King is no stranger to word choices and usage considering his career. His output is well covered and he seems to chew and sleep writing. So it is puzzling to some why he would choose a term that many considered drenched in race. Retweeting a statement from son Joe Hill on actress Florence Pugh's performance in Midsommar and horror's general absence from the awards conversation, King agreed.
"It's true. Horror is usually considered a ghetto genre," King wrote about horror being relegated to its own segregated and lower area of an urban locale. Like if film itself is a city, some genres are in the shiny, big sections of the metropolis while others are forced into smaller, grimier, less touted areas.
It makes sense if you look at it without thinking of real-life ghettos or people, but many folks online couldn't do that. Instead, they dived directly into a conversation on race and decided to chastise the horror writer for his choice of words.
"I just feel like a writer should know there are so many other words that would’ve made more sense in this instance," one critic wrote.
"Terrible choice of words. Terrible. You could have said not taken as seriously as other genres. The word ghetto had many racial connotations to it. Do better," another added.
"We went from “second class” to “ghetto” so fast," a third wrote.
These people were far from alone, with many responding with shock that King would stoop to using such language or ignore the larger connotations it conjures. That said, many also stepped up to try and defend The Shining author.
"He's saying horror is undervalued by the high [sheriffs] of literature and film. Ghetto=marginalized not inferior. Marginalized by the ignorance and narrowness of the people who are currently in charge," one defender wrote.
"In the context of the industry it pretty much means that if you're in that genre folks only consider you 'good' (if at all) within that genre. While not viewing you as having any actual skill that could be cross applicable," a second added.
In the end, though, King was being dragged and criticized by far more than defended him.
EXCUSE ME pic.twitter.com/wm6wdvMEZV— 𝘈𝘭𝘱𝘩𝘢𝘣𝘦𝘵 𝘔𝘢𝘧𝘪𝘢: 𝘍𝘭𝘶𝘧𝘧𝘺 🧸 (@fluffyblkboy) December 15, 2019
King is usually outspoken and critical of certain things on Twitter, particularly President Donald Trump. He's also typically pretty open for conversation with fans or within other discussions on the social media platform.
He still hasn't responded to the outcry, but it is hard to think he would completely ignore it given his past on the social network.