A new study by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has confirmed something we’ve all pretty much suspected – that Hollywood both on screen and behind-the-scenes is disproportionately white, heterosexual and male.
The report’s authors looked at 109 movies along with 306 broadcast, cable and digital series, and found that only 33% of speaking characters were female, less than 30% were from minority groups and a mere 2% were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. 50% had no Asian characters and 20% had no black characters.
Only 3.4% of film directors were female, 17.1% of broadcast directors, 15.1% of cable directors and 11.8% of streaming directors. Minorities are in the same boat with various ethnic or racial groups directing only 12.7% of films, 9.6% of broadcast programs, 16.8% of cable series and 11.4% of streaming shows.
Amongst executives, women made up less than 20% of the top positions in higher corporate positions. The one area where there is gender parity? Senior vice president posts where they comprise nearly 50% of positions.
Yet the disparity isn’t even across the board, and TV fares decidedly better than film. Some of the most talked about major TV and digital players including Hulu, Amazon, Disney and The CW network all had impressive statistics with over 65% female, minority and LGBT characters along with as much again of female writers, directors and show runners.
The film industry on the other hand scored failing grades with Time Warner nabbing a zero rating when it came to diversity while Sony and Viacom fared best with 20%.
Report co-author Stacy L. Smith, says: “It’s clear we have an inclusion crisis. Every one deserves to see their stories seen and heard. There’s an epidemic of invisibility. It strikes us as odd given that it’s 2016 and so many other institutions are making progress. It’s time for the entertainment business to move forward, as well.”
More details about the study are available here. For a more amusing take on this whole issue, check out John Oliver’s segment from yesterday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight” about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.