We are horrible, according to celebrities. They are saintly while ignoring their own lectures
Hollywood, that cabal of luminaries who know better, loves to tell us what we are doing wrong. With regularity, celebrities savor the chance to lecture us about what we personally, or collectively, do that is wrong and incorrect. They never shy away from condemnation and condescension.
The irony is their own house is hardly in order.
They have railed against the denigration of women while letting Harvey Weinstein run rampant. They deride the female pay disparity while ignoring their own payroll problem. They scorch the President over his immigrant children policies, while not lifting a finger to address child abuse in their industry. Now a new report shows more issues which they love to give voice to have seen no true action.
A study of the most popular titles from last year, made by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, shows that, in terms of diversity, Hollywood has a real problem. Of the top 100 titles in 2017, the roles that went to women were around 30%, a figure that has remained unchanged for a decade. Despite the top three earners featuring female leads, only one-third of all titles had female leads.
Women of color are still among the most marginalized, which the report calls an epidemic of invisibility. In 2017, 64 of the top 100 films did not include a single Latina character, 65 were missing Asian females, and 43 were devoid of any black female characters. 78 films were without a female character with a disability and 94 absent of an LGBT female. The report calls it an epidemic of invisibility.
We find ourselves in another year where almost nothing has changed.” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Founding Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “In the aggregate, Hollywood isn’t embracing any solution. It’s business as usual or embracing the status quo as usual.”
This follows a recent report from the Directors Guild of America, showing that minorities continue to be underrepresented, and in some categories have seen fewer jobs materialize. It was a couple of Academy Award ceremonies back that Hollywood was smeared with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, a result of the nominees from that year looking monochromatic. (In true form, many stars used their sin to cast guilt upon the country.) The Academy took pains to broaden membership and admit more minorities to their ranks.
That has not yet translated to actual work in the industry. Female directors have seen a marginal increase in work, but are barely above the 10% mark. And, over the past five years, the number of minority directors has actually diminished. Despite all the heralding that has surrounded the “Black Panther” release this winter, that success hides a dark reality. In 2013 the DGA recognized 26 minority directors among the major releases (earning at least $250,000 in theaters). Last year that figure dropped to just 14, from 17% down to 10%.
Amusingly, these societal geniuses want to turn to quota methods, a tactic that has been tried and rarely has led to marketplace success. As I detailed earlier one legal solution proposed — the Inclusion Rider — is choked with other problems. Another proposal being forwarded is called the “Just Add Five” concept.
Call it Affirmative Acting. This entails having writers working to include a handful of additional female speaking roles in their scripts. These artists, who always bristle at the idea of artificially changing art, encourage shoe-horning characters into completed screenplays.
As questionable as these “solutions” may appear, I guess I should be happy as well. For a refreshing change, Hollywood seems to be taking some steps to address their own issues. I mean sure, it will still be seen as evidence that we are all racist/sexist/ableist/what-ever-ist — but at least this takes some of the focus off of us, as Hollywood continues to be proven to be filled with the very problems they accuse us of possessing.