After claiming Hollywood is a "meritocracy", Ben Stiller gets backlash

Ben Stiller has come under fire after wading into a discussion about nepotism to say that showbiz “is a meritocracy”.

Twitter exploded in anger after it was revealed that Stephen King, Sean Penn, and Steven Spielberg’s children were involved in a new movie called The Rightway.

Franklin Leonard, a TV and Film Producer, tweeted a link and asked: “Hollywood is a meritocracy?

Later, he added “Yes.” Speaking only from personal experience, which I don’t have, I would guess that they all faced challenges. Different from those who have no access to the industry.

“Showbiz, as we all know, is quite rough and ultimately is a meritocracy.”

After claiming Hollywood is a "meritocracy", Ben Stiller gets backlash

Leonard responded to the claim that he did not believe the industry was a meritocracy – either in the short-term or long term.

“If it were, then how would you explain the complete lack of diversity behind your camera?” He asked.

Stiller replied, “100% agree.” Diversity is a much larger issue. No question. I get your point. Access is access. So yes.

“I believe that people who aren’t talented don’t last long if they get a break due to the people they know or have a relationship with.”

Leonard said then that he disagreed with Leonard and that “numbers do not lie”.

He stated that if you exclude other people, statistics show that roughly 1/3 of the workforce has their jobs not because they are meritorious but because of other factors (whom they know, colonial heritage, sexism whatever).

People have criticized Stiller for denying that there is nepotism within the industry.

“Seriously? Nepotism is a real problem in every industry …” one person tweeted.

Another said, “I believe it’s difficult for you to comprehend given your background.”

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One person wrote: “I love Ben Stiller. But I think it’s pretty obvious that the son and comedian Jerry Stiller has a dog at the ‘nepotism Hollywood’ fight. “Just saying.”

Stiller – who is the son of late actors and comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara – chimed in: “Too easy @franklinleonard. People, working, creating. Everybody has their own path. All the best to them.