HollywoodSoWhite Inclusion or Invisibility

A newly released study suggests diversity in TV and film is so bad. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite could be changed to #HollywoodSoWhite. HollywoodSoWhite would apply because of an “epidemic of invisibility” cited by researchers at the University of Southern California. Researchers analyzed more than 21,000 characters and behind-the-scenes workers on more than 400 films and TV shows. The period researched ranged from September 2014 through August 2015. They tabulated representations of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual status.


“We’re seeing that there’s not just a diversity in problem in Hollywood; there’s actually an inclusion crisis,” was observed by Stacy L. Smith> Ms. Smith is one of the study’s authors and founding director of the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

The study is titled, “Inclusion or Invisibility? Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment.” The study found just one-third of speaking characters were female (33.5 percent), despite the fact that women represent just over half the population in America. Just 28.3 percent of characters with dialogue were from non-white racial/ethnic groups., Whereas these groups are nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population.

Disney Cited Worst

Disney is cited by the study as the worst performing of the “big seven” Hollywood studio when it comes to hiring black directors. A week before the 2017 Oscars ceremony the event is already criticized for an all-white slate of acting nominees. The study shows the film industry does worse than television. For instance, the report references the Disney enterprise as being among those included in being HollywoodSoWhite. HollywoodSoWhite is not so harsh a statement when you consider performance of the Disney film enterprise. Yes the label HollywoodSoWhite is a fair and accurate description of the movie and tv industries.


Just 3.4 percent of film directors were female, and only 7 percent of films had a cast whose balance of race and ethnicity reflected the country’s diversity. In broadcast TV, 17 percent of directors were female and 19 percent of programs were ethnically balanced.

Broadcast TV also saw a number of TV shows featuring characters of color debut during the study’s tabulation period. These shows included Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat on ABC, Jane the Virgin on The CW, and Empire on Fox.

Still, when researchers looked at all TV shows — including broadcast, cable and streaming services — they also found under representation. Women of color over 40 were deemed “largely invisible” and just 22 percent of TV series creators were female.

Overall, the study found half the films and TV shows had no Asian speaking characters. More than one-fifth of them had no black characters with dialogue. Just 2 percent of speaking characters were identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual.More than half the LGBT characters in all the films they examined came from two movies.

“The film industry still functions as a straight, White, boy’s club,” the study states. In the interview, Smith says, “I think we’re seeing, across the landscape, an erasure of certain groups; women, people of color, the LGBT community … this is really [an] epidemic of invisibility that points to a lack of inclusivity across film and TV.


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