Walter Mosley said the n-word at work. Then HR called.

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Walter Mosley Photo credit: Cornerhouse Manchester (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Many of your favorite TV shows come out of a wild, raucous, and sometimes vulgar place called a writer’s room. It’s where the writers and show creators gather for hours at a time to hash out ideas, bounce plot points off of each other, and share personal stories. Things can get testy sometimes, but the room falls under a “protected space.” That means someone can put it all on the table without repercussions. That doesn’t always make for the healthiest workplace, though.

Acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Walter Mosley recently left the writer’s room at "Star Trek: Discovery" because someone was offended at something he said. When recounting a personal experience with a police officer in Los Angeles, Moseley used the n-word, which he says the officer used in reference to him. Someone in the room heard that and reported Mosely to HR.

“I got a call from HR. HR says to me, 'We heard you used the n-word in the writers room,' ” Mosley says. “And I said, 'Well I am the n-word in the writer’s room.' They said, 'You can't say that word.' And I got off the phone and I went home. That was it.”

Mosley says the censorship of free speech is ridiculous. “You can't bully people. You can't harass people. You can't humiliate people. There are things that you can't do... but you can use language as you don't do anything consciously against somebody else.”

In a statement, representatives for Discovery’s producers at CBS TV Studios said, “We have the greatest admiration for Mr. Mosley’s writing talents and were excited to have him join ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ While we cannot comment on the specifics of confidential employee matters, we are committed to supporting a workplace where employees feel free to express concerns and where they feel comfortable performing their best work. We wish Mr. Mosley much continued success.”



Larry Perel


Cerise Castle