How to get away with sweet revenge
Within hours of publishing an embarrassing Sept. 18 column by New York Times television columnist Alessandra Stanley, the Times executive staff began apologizing--but it was too late. The column in the Sunday Times where Stanley called Shonda Rhimes "an angry black woman" and Viola Davis, the star of the new ABC drama How To Get Away With Murder--Rhimes is executive producer--"less classically beautiful" than lighter-skinned African-American actresses, the entertainment landscape had been scorched.
"There was never any intent to offend anyone," wrote Times Culture Editor Danielle Matton.
In a mea culpa, Stanley later admitted to using "a painful and insidious stereotype solely in order to praise Ms. Rhimes."
Ultimately, How to Get Away With Murder killed it (ratings-wise) with its Sept. 25 debut. Around 14 million viewers tuned in, and that number is expected to grow when DVR viewers are added.
Meanwhile, Stanley was still doing damage control, saying readers shouldn't have taken her "angry black woman" comment literally because she "so often writes arch, provocative ledes that are then undercut or mitigated by the paragraphs that follow." Riiiiiight.