The evil greedy businessman has become a well-documented Hollywood trope over the years. So of course Shonda Rhimes took that stereotype and added racism and sexism to the mix on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.
In the episode “It’s a Trap,” we are shown scenes from a case Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) worked on a decade ago. In the flashback, a very pregnant Annalise works for Wallace Mahoney, a wealthy hedge fund manager whose son stands accused of murdering his fiancé.
After an alibi witness Annalise promises to deliver disappears, Mahoney blames her and lets out the inner racist that we all know is always brimming just beneath the surface of every rich white male.
Mahoney: My corporate attorneys told me not to hire you, but every judge and lawyer friend I know told me that we would need a woman if we had any chance at winning. And with a jury made up mostly of minorities, a woman of color would be best. So I found you. Turns out, there aren't a lot of women like you out there, which is why I went against my instincts and chose to ignore this. Maybe it'd even make you more sympathetic to the jury, I thought. But now... [ Sighs ] ...Don't give your people a bad name.
"Your people"... you mean the pregnant African-American female defense attorneys of the world?
The scene is made even more ridiculous by the fact that it follows one in which Mahoney reassures his wife, "We need to trust Ms. Keating, Sylvia. We hired her for a reason. She has a reputation for taking risks." It's so obviously shoehorned in there to fit Shondaland's self-indulgent notion of white male privilege.
The eeeeeeeeevil rich white misogynistic racist businessman strikes again! Way to perpetuate stereotypes, Shonda.