The Left loves studies – especially those with an author pedigree that hales from liberal academies like the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In this case, the latest study revolves around the topic of ethnic and gender diversity in Hollywood in film, television and executive ranks.
According to the second annual Hollywood Diversity Report by UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, lead author Darnell Hunt says Hollywood diversity is improving but not fast enough.
This is in keeping with the liberal ethos that says to understand a society, you need to divide it black against white, rich against poor, male against female, gay against straight – whatever characteristic is required to establish a fairness issue to fuel the grievance industry.
According to Hunt and his co-authors:
“The U.S. population is about 40 percent minority and slightly more than half-female”. . .”but women and minorities are represented onscreen and behind the camera in drastically lesser proportions” the study of Hollywood diversity in 2012 and 2013 indicates.
The study blames the lack of diversity on agencies, guilds, studios and networks — “an industry culture that routinely devalues the talent of minorities and women. . .”
Hunt based the study on the top 200 films by global box office in 2012 and 2013 and every broadcast, cable and digital TV series of the 2012-13 season.
Tale of the tape
In movies, “minorities were underrepresented more than 2-to-1 (less than half as much as their share of the U.S. population) in lead roles and 2-to-1 as directors, and women lagged 2-to-1 as leads and 8-to-1 as directors”.
Television “remained white-heavy onscreen and behind the camera, with minorities underrepresented nearly 6-to-1 in lead roles on scripted broadcast shows and nearly 2-to-1 as leads on cable (relative to their share of the U.S. population), more than 3-to-1 as cable series creators and more than 6-to-1 as broadcast creators.”
Women were underrepresented about 2-to-1 as broadcast and cable creators, and their frequency as leads on broadcast dipped below 50 percent; they also remained outnumbered on cable. Both groups were underrepresented in reality programming.
Executive diversity fairs worst in study for 2013
According to the study, the executive class of TV networks and studios were 96 percent white and 71 percent male and major and mini-major film studios were 94 percent white and 100 percent male.
Perhaps in an effort to inoculate themselves from the harsh criticism bigotry and sexism, the study received the financial backing of major studios and networks including the Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner. These studios then used study outcomes as a guide to address diversity disparities in the entertainment industry.
By way of redemption, executives have made changes to their corporate structure creating vehicles like HBOAccess:
“. . .a mentorship program for diverse writers and filmmakers, which Time Warner executive director of diversity and corporate social responsibility Jonathan Beane says was inspired largely by the report. “I want to make sure that what I’m preaching, I have data to support it. [The report] does that,” he says.
Beane also agreed with researchers that:
“. . .the problem stems from executive attitudes during the hiring process, which perpetuates the lack of diversity in executive suites — even if unintentionally.” “I don’t believe it’s malicious,” says Beane. “It’s just that people have a better eye for talent when it looks like them and has the same background as them.”
Whether or not these efforts to improve diversity are window dressing to ingratiate the study authors to film and television industry executives in subsequent studies going forward remains to be seen.
What is known is that diversity for its own sake will not result in equal artistic and entertainment outcomes that can only be decided by an actor unmentioned in the study’s text or footnotes – the people who buy tickets.