Shonda Rhimes Criticizes New York Times Over "Angry Black Woman" Line

Shonda Rhimes

The 'Scandal' showrunner strongly objected to a TV critic's article

New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley may have been attempting to praise Grey's Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes in an article about how she's "reset the image of African-American women on television." Stanley's opening sentence, however, completely missed the mark.

"When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called 'How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman,' " writes Stanley.

The critic references Rhimes' African-American characters such as Miranda Bailey and Olivia Pope, but mainly focuses on Annalise Keating, played by Viola Davis in How to Get Away With Murder, which is executive produced by Rhimes and created by ShondaLand writer Peter Nowalk

Rhimes took to Twitter to respond to Stanley, pointing out that she was not even the creator of the new series. "Confused why @nytimes critic doesn't know identity of CREATOR of show she's reviewing. @petenowa did u know u were 'an angry black woman'?"

The writer went on to say that she hadn't realized she was "an angry black woman" and then questioned why Stanley didn't refer to her white female leads. "Final thing: (then I am gonna do some yoga): how come I am not 'an angry black woman' the many times Meredith (or Addison!) rants?," tweeted Rhimes, before adding a comment about being called not only angry, but a "romance writer."

When she was asked by a Twitter follower whether she had seen a certain article about the debate, Rhimes tweeted back: "I've been too busy being angry and black. Also a woman. Takes up a lot of time."

Stanley said she does not think people's reactions reflect the intent of her piece. "The whole point of the piece — once you read past the first 140 characters — is to praise Shonda Rhimes for pushing back so successfully on a tiresome but insidious stereotype," she said in a statement. 

Sept. 21, 6:27 p.m. Updated with an additional tweet from Rhimes.