Josh Thomas apologises after casting debate resurfaces

Josh Thomas has apologised for statements he made during a 2016 panel discussion around casting.

A Writers’ Room session held at the Sydney Opera House featured Thomas, Celia Pacquola, Luke McGregor and US writer Dan Harmon (Community, Rick and Morty), hosted by Gretel Killeen.

When Pacquola spoke about a frustration of finding diverse actors for Rosehaven in Tasmania, Thomas spoke about the responsibility of casting he discovered as a young producer on Please Like Me.

“Is this is going to sound racist? Let’s find out,” he conceded. “We’ve tried really hard for years now.

“But I think most of the immigrants in Australia have come pretty recently. And generally, first or second-generation immigrants don’t want to be actors.

“They have ‘real jobs,'” he joked.

“I found it really hard. It was a high priority for us from the beginning.”

He continued, “The other thing I didn’t know about making a TV show that I found quite confronting is you have to pick every person in the show.

“It’s like, ‘Josh, what do you want the 7-11 worker to look like?’ Do you make them Indian, or is that offensive? Or if you make them white, is it a bit like you’re lying, really? What do you do?”

Pacquola asked, “But also, it’s taking a job away from an Indian actor if you don’t?”

“What answer is not offensive? I don’t know” Thomas admitted, before McGregor acknowledged,“We’re probably not going to come to the answer with this panel.”

Writer Dan Harmon later noted, “In the States the answer is you have to look harder.”

Thomas, who most recently produced Everything’s Gonna Be Okay in the US, has apologised on Twitter.


  1. The thing I think people were taking offense at is the 7-11 thing. They have plenty of reasons as to why the rest of the cast isn’t diverse but when it comes to reinforcing racial stereotypes, it’s suddenly _so important_ for them to cast a South Asian person.

    “It’s taking a job away from an Indian actor” Um, as opposed to the rest of the roles?

    “If you make them white, it’s a bit like you’re lying” Yeah, people will never buy a white person working in a 7-11 but a world where everyone is white except 7-11 workers? That’s the truth.

  2. tolliver333

    A joke that fell flat ….. sometimes we don’t need to apologise for what we say we need to put things into context. Like saying I am going to woolies to buy ‘coon cheese’. Sometime the world is being to PC for its own good. Where there is a comedy that is done to mock that is one thing. Look at the Benny Hill show….

    • I was surprised it warranted an apology, given he was talking through the dilemmas he faced as a young producer. Even Gretel didn’t feel the need to pull him up on his wording (and we know she doesn’t let anybody get away with anything)…. my reading of this is his place in US industry where something out of context gets away from you very quickly.

  3. Not a fan of Josh and this probably just adds to that because I can’t see what he is apologising for.

    And Celia is basically trying to force diversity in an area that according to the 2016 Census isn’t particularly diverse. Represent the area rather trying to make it up or film in a more diverse area.

  4. Me thinks Josh has too much time on his hands at the moment as it was all over other sites yesterday when he implied in not too subtle terms that Coon cheese should be renamed and it massively back fired on him and now this.Oh Dear

    • Josh like many comedians was funny and relevant for his 15 minutes. He’s trying to stay young and cool but it’s just embarrassing.

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