'American Crime' Creator John Ridley Tackles Sexual Assault on Campuses

"If we’re having trouble getting it, but it’s happening, maybe this is something we should be talking about."

"We felt like what we were doing was strong and that we were going to go into something and have maybe a bit of a predisposition about things or even a distance about things because we’re two guys, and I think we were a little nervous about that," American Crime creator John Ridley told The Hollywood Reporter during the Drama Showrunner Roundtable in regards to his second season arc involving sexual assault on college campuses. "Are we yet another male voice going into a subject matter — I don’t want to say better-suited by women as if men or women or black or white can’t do things — but are we just one more additional voice in a lot of very adept voices trying to talk about something?" he asked, saying he was nervous about tackling a subject like sexual assault.

"And the studio [American Crime airs on ABC], they couldn’t wrap their heads around it. And that was this moment: If we’re having trouble getting it, but it’s happening, maybe this is something we should be talking about."

Adding, "It was very nerve-wracking because you want to be honorific, you don’t want to be delicate, you want people to think, you want people to talk, but you also want them coming away realizing that if we can’t solve the issue on a show, then certainly none of us are doing enough to solve it in real life."

More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actors and actresses, comedy showrunners and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV, with the premiere of the Drama Showrunners Roundtable on Sunday, July 24. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.

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