A new report released on Monday shows that minorities and women are significantly underrepresented in movies and TV – both onscreen and off.
The Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity, written by professor Stacy L. Smith and the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, dubbed the findings proof of “#HollywoodSoWhite.”
Analyzing the cast, crew and executives behind 109 films released by major studios in 2014, and, in addition, 205 scripted, first-run TV and streaming series from 31 networks and services airing September 2014 to August 2015, the study found only 28.3 percent of speaking characters were from minority racial and ethnic groups. The proportional U.S. population norm is 37.9 percent.
Further, only 15.2 percent of directors and 28.9 percent of writers across all the examined productions were female.
“This is no mere diversity problem. This is an inclusion crisis,” Smith said. “Over half of the content we examined features no Asian or Asian-American characters, and over 20 percent featured no African-American characters. It is clear that the ecosystem of entertainment is exclusionary.”
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In total, 11,000 speaking characters were analyzed in regard to gender, racial and ethnic representation, as well as their LGBT status. The same characteristics were used to look at over 10,000 directors, writers and show creators, and 1,500 media company executives.
Ten specific companies were further scrutinized for their representation of women and minorities both on- and offscreen. None of the film distributors received an “inclusive” rating in any of the 30 tests conducted.
Television fared slightly better, with The Walt Disney Company and the CW Network performing well in inclusiveness.
Main findings include the underrepresentation of females “across the entertainment ecosystem” and a startling lack of women in executive positions in the industry. In addition, only 2 percent of speaking characters across the 414 films, TV and streaming series were lesbian, gay or bisexual. Only seven characters, total, were transgender.
Overall, the study found that television is further along than the film industry when it comes to inclusiveness.