Woody Allen has responded to accusations he won't hire black actors.

The New York Daily News recently reported that Allen's play about Harlem's Cotton Club, "Bullets Over Broadway" -- which debuts in April -- has no black gangsters, something it said Allen specifically requested, citing an anonymous source. Allen's rep told the newspaper his priority is casting "the exact appropriate person for a role regardless of race, which has never been a consideration."

The New York Observer's Roger Friedman recently asked Allen if he would ever cast someone like Viola Davis. Allen reportedly said, "Not unless I write a story that requires it. You don't hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part. The implication is that I'm deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what's right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part."

Friedman also asked Allen about his personal life.

"(Chris Rock) loved my work. When I got married to Soon-Yi, he bought me a wedding present," he said. "When I ran into him in Rome, we took him out for dinner. I'm friendly with Spike Lee. We don't socialize, but I don't socialize with anyone. I don't have white friends either."

Salon pointed out that Lee has criticized Allen for not casting black people. It reported that, in a 1987 New York Times interview, Lee said, "Woody Allen, he can do a film about Manhattan -- it's about one-half black and Hispanic -- and he doesn't have a single black person in the film."

Maybe they all went on vacation those days.


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Tony Hicks provides celebrity commentary for the Bay Area News Group. Contact him at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/thicks67.