Hollywood Is a ‘Straight, White, Boys’ Club,’ Blistering Study Finds

Oscars Diversity Controversy
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The United States may be a melting pot, but when it comes to diversity, the films and television shows it produces are missing a lot of ingredients.

From the board rooms of major media companies like Walt Disney, Netflix and Time Warner, to the shows they broadcast and stream and the movies they greenlight, Hollywood is male-centric, monochromatic and overwhelmingly heterosexual, the study finds. That’s the takeaway from a deep dive into the entertainment landscape by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

“It’s clear we have an inclusion crisis,” said Stacy L. Smith, the report’s co-author. “Every one deserves to see their stories seen and heard.”

The report’s authors looked at 109 movies, and 306 broadcast, cable and digital series, and found that a third of speaking characters were female, less than 30% were from minority groups and a mere 2% were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Roughly half of the films and shows the study looked at lacked Asian characters and 20% had no black characters.

The research lands a week before the 88th Academy Awards — an annual celebration of the movie business that was nearly derailed over complaints that people of color were overlooked in the major acting and directing categories. It also comes as Hollywood studios are being investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for gender discrimination — an examination prompted by the lack of films produced, written and directed by women.

The USC report, which faults the film business for being a “straight, white, boys’ club,” should add fuel to the fire. It finds that 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 were similarly excluded from directing work. Under-represented ethnic or racial groups directed only 12.7% of films, 9.6% of broadcast programs, 16.8% of cable series and 11.4% of streaming shows.

The issues with a lack of diversity start at the top. Women made up less than 20% of entertainment companies’ corporate boards, chief executives and executive management teams. At lower levels, there is more gender parity. Women comprised nearly 50% of senior vice president posts, but that number falls higher up the corporate ladder. Women made up only 35.9% of executive vice presidents and 23.7% of top executives.

“As the power and prestige increases, the percentage of women decreases,” said Katherine Pieper, the study’s co-author.

The study calls major companies to the carpet, measuring their record of inclusion across the programming and films they produce, as well as the behind-the-camera talent they employ.

To that end, television and digital players were much more diverse than big-screen entertainment. The percentage of female, minority and LGBT characters, as well as female writers, directors and show runners at Hulu, Amazon, Disney and the CW all exceeded 65%. Smith pointed to the “promise of progress” on the small screen, with the study citing the success of Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Kenya Barris (“Black-ish”) and Jennie Snyder Urman (“Jane the Virgin”) as examples of the ways that fostering diverse voices can make strong business sense.

On the film front, the situation was more dire. Time Warner scored a zero rating when it came to diversity, while, Sony and Viacom fared best with 20%. All of the companies, a group that included Disney, 21st Century Fox and NBC Universal, received failing grades.

The study also presents suggestions for how entertainment players can improve the representation of women and minorities on screen and in the corporate suite. Among other prescriptions, the authors argue that the companies should create “inclusion goals,” build lists of directors and writers to consider that are 50% women and 38% people of color, and weigh the strong financial performance of films with female or minority leads and directors when making decisions about future productions.

“There’s an epidemic of invisibility,” said Smith. “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.”

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  1. lordfreeza says:

    At the end of the day minorities,woman and LGBTQ community need to make their own stuff.Pool some money and make our own films and stop crying for white people to include us. White guys did the majority of the work in those industries so they are going to be the ones benefiting the most.

  2. sonata says:

    This is such bs. Gay gay gay transgender transgender gay gay gay is all ppl ever defend and whine about anymore. Hell we can finally tell a joke about Jewish ppl but dont say shit about gays or else youre the devil himself. Anybody is ok to bash except ppl of the GT community yes, GT, no one cares about female homosexuals. Its white men period all kinds, all that matters.

  3. Straight White Male says:

    Straight white males are a majority in a country where males are mostly straight and white.





  4. Michelle says:

    These numbers are superficial. They, alone, don’t explain true causation. Deeper research and analysis (not just glomming onto end numbers) can better explain it. Has it occurred to Variety and Hollywood complainers that perhaps the Oscar nominees are based on merit and talent and not on race? Because THAT is racist. And it just happens that this year, most of them are white? It’s not this way EVERY year. Just the fact that we have many non-white actors, directors, producers in general shows that the arena is open to all.

    Has it occurred to people that maybe the reason there are more men than women directing is because there are more men than women going for those jobs? Same for the non-whites. Is it possible less non-whites take the initiative to direct?

    I am an Asian female who lives and works in Hollywood. If someone wants to direct, they can go direct. I have over 20 some friends who have written, directed, and produced their own films and projects to get experience and create their start in the industry. They are go-getters. They just go do it. They don’t wait for someone to give them permission. Of those friends, only 2 of them are women. All the rest of my friends who took the initiative were male. My girlfriends COULD do it. They just don’t. If women want it, they can go out and do it, just like all my friends. No one is tying them down or legislating against them anymore. If they create awesome projects, they will get hired. Period.

    On the ground, day to day, I am surrounded by so many non-white, non-male Hollywood players EVERYWHERE. And many who make millions of dollars and have huge influence. This place is not racist as a whole. Sure, there may be individual people who might be racist, but that’s everywhere in the world and those few don’t control the entire industry.

    Has it occurred to anyone that women make up less than 20% of companies’ corporate boards, CEOs, & mgmt teams because less women than men apply for those positions? Is that a remote possibility? Anyone going to talk about that? Do we have the numbers behind how many men or women were rejected from those positions? Or are we just going to immediately jump to the same, tired racist or ‘boys club’ narrative?

    This isn’t a mathematical formula. It’s life. You’re never going to have equal stuff for all genders and all races. What’s important is equal OPPORTUNITY. As long as opportunity is open to all, then freedom exists for all. And the best people SHOULD win. Whether they are Asian, Black, Latin, or White. Stop looking at the color of people who are winning. And don’t lower the standard of any position to slot someone in because of RACE. That is racist. The most qualified or talented person should get the role, position, or award.

    We live in the only country in the world where if you want it, you can go build it, whoever you are. Most countries are REALLY racist. Believe me I know. I am the daughter of two immigrants and I have lived abroad for over 3 years. Americans don’t have to rely on friends in government, or elite relatives, to make success happen, like in other places.

    Just go out and do what you want, whether it’s acting, directing, producing, or any other field that exists. If someone is better than you at something, accept it. Don’t whine. And please stop playing the racist or gender card, it’s not relevant in a country where the president is black, or in an industry where the highest paid actors are black, Asian, Indian, Latin, AND white, AND female. In the U.S. no one holds you down but you.

  5. Lisa says:

    Well, Variety is guilty of reporting predominantly on White men. I feel, as I’m sure most women do, marginalized when reading through these articles – like I don’t belong. Sort of, actually a lot, like when I was a kid and the boys of the neighbourhood would say, ‘No girls allowed’ when playing baseball. It was and still is degrading. And I bet you most of the boys didn’t even know why they were excluding us! They just knew (from their fathers) that they had to.
    But at least we’re having a dialogue. I don’t want to read the comments below because there are 72 of them and many that would get people arrested for hate speech, or at least fired, if said in public. But I had to write something to do my share to keep the dialogue going.

    • Holly Wood says:

      Variety is “guilty” of writing predominantly about white men? Guilty? L

      Variety is guilty of writing about what Variety’s editors want to write about. Guilty as charged. You got ’em!

      Good grief.

      • Lisa says:

        Yeah, guilty because they are hypocrits and they WANT to write about White men for White men. Just count the number of headlines from Variety that pile into your inbox each day. I’ve counted mine, and I’ve noticed about only 10% are about minorities or women.This isn’t a joke. By belittling the obvious problem you are contributing to it.

  6. Tyler Brink Ethic says:

    If a director really wanted to do well at the Oscars next year they just need to make sure they cast a bunch of black people. Because I guarantee next year the winners will mostly be black.

    • Holly Wood says:

      I’m not belittling anything, and I hope you’re not including me with the authors of hate speech. I’m just wondering how a magazine writing about what it wants to write about is hypocritical.

      But since you mentioned it, yes: I do think there are more important things in the world to address than trying to make a magazine write about things it doesn’t want to write about because someone thinks they’re entitled to tell the magazine what to write about.

      I appreciate that you’re passionate about your position, but when I was a kid, we knew exactly why we excluded girls from playing football with us, and it wasn’t because our fathers told us to. We excluded them because, at least when I was a kid, they weren’t good enough football players. Before you react to that, consider that we also excluded some of the boys for the same reason. I’m Jewish, but when I didn’t always get to play it didn’t occur to me to accuse the other kids of antisemitism. Or hypocrisy. My friends and I played football with the people we thought were the best football players.

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      • Holly Wood says:

        I just realized you actually said that boys didn’t know why they excluded girls from playing baseball, they just knew they had to… from their fathers.

        I hope you figure out how to overcome whatever’s happened to you to that makes you think in such a sad and broken way.

  7. Tyler Brink Ethic says:

    The percentage of blacks in America is around 13%. The percentage of openly gay people is around 4%. Why do we need to make sure we have a token nominee in every category? Shouldn’t people that act the best be nominated? Or do we really need to go through this every year?

    • Lisa says:

      And the percentage of women is 53%. What’s your smart alec answer for that one? And yes, we REALLY need to go through this every year. I know you think it’s boring, because who the heck cares about anyone else, but what’s truly boring is watching white men giving other white men awards every year.

      • Holly Wood says:

        Your statistics are disingenuous. It’s raw data. In order for any of the numbers you quote to have a context, you have to know a ton of things that you don’t know. For just one example: of all the people who want to be professors in the first place, what percentage are women?

        I’m not trying to be discourteous, I’m trying to point out that the things we like to debate about usually aren’t as simplistic as the actual debates.

      • Lisa says:

        Actually, if you notice by high school, most teachers, and principals, are males. By university, almost all the professors are males. But I guess that’s because women just don’t work hard enough. The truth is women have to work twice as hard as men to get half the credit. A woman has to have a PhD in order to earn just as much as a man with only a high school education. Look it up. Until then, everything you say is trash.
        So it’s not about working harder.

      • Chris O says:

        76% of women are teachers. We should enforce gender quotas so that the number of female teachers decrease and the number of male teachers increase to 50%. Pretty damn dumb logic, right?

        White men invented film, and therefore invented the film industry. The only difference, however, was that it was an inclusive community. Anyone of all ages, all genders, and all races could star in a production if the story called for it. No one has the gall to complain when there’s television channels, radio channels, and clubs that are exclusive only to racial minorities and women. But more white people win awards in Hollywood than black people? Racists! Sexists! How dare they not award every type of person out there so that I can feel a little better about my own insecurities? Jeez, I mean, imagine if I said that Miss Black America was boring because it’s black folk giving other black folk awards. Same shit, different race.

        Long story short, people are awarded based on merit, and the film industry is a meritocracy. If you want to win an award like every hard-working award-winner does, then you must work hard. There’s no catch to it. Just work hard.

      • Holly Wood says:

        Watch something else?

  8. eroicarich says:

    Oh boy. This is a slippery slope. From straight white male it’s one small step to straight white “Jewish” male. You know that’s where this his heading. It has happened before in a great country that succumbed to the politics of resentment.

  9. IT--two--IT says:

    MORE MIS–direction on the INTEL RUN, psychopath directed, Hollywood franchise slum.

  10. Jules says:

    So, I guess since it’s a business…it’s all about demand for the Product. You make money or you don’t. How is the BET (All Black Network) doing for Ratings and Profit margin. I don’t see Whites or Hispanics trying to take-over their Profit margin.

    Business is business. Historically since America’s demographics are 74% White and 14% Black, it makes sense why most films are providing Product the “Audience Base” will want to pay for.

    Nobody’s stopping Blacks from making movies. And by the same Token, ‘No-One’ has the right to tell someone else how to do their job. Especially, if they’re successful.

    • Lisa says:

      The thing here is, excluding Blacks, Hispanics and women(whom you completely excluded from your extensive ‘list’), won’t give them the opportunity to ‘provide Product the Audience Base will want to pay for’ because they won’t have the freaken money to pay for it. And there’s the vicious cycle all over again. Get it? But I guess that’s your aim, right Mr White Man?

  11. Adam says:

    I think all the controversy over not enough black nominees at the Oscars and not enough gay relationships in mainstream movies and not enough sexual diversity among Hollywood executive preferences and all this other nonsense is just that – nonsense. The United States is supposed to be the land of freedom, but all of a sudden we have the far left news media telling us how are supposed to think, what we’re supposed to be doing, the things that were supposed to be saying, etc. And the thing is, I’m not right or left. Because I’m tired of seeing the right point the finger at the left and I’m tired of listening to the left to make accusations against the right when they’re supposed to be caring about what’s best for our country. And that’s why I’m registered Independent. Because I believe in freedom and I believe in people exercising that freedom to bring into office whoever is going to do the best job for our country but yet, even with a presidential election coming up, still, here we stand. More whining about not enough people following the preferred agenda and more complaining about people not being politically correct enough and I think that more people should stand up against articles like this because the news media is supposed to be reporting the news as it is, not telling us what the news is supposed to be and how we’re supposed to be seeing and discussing it…

  12. George Michael Sherry says:

    Entertainment is a business. It makes the product it thinks people want to consume. Why should anyone else have the right to supersede a business’s decision over what products to offer? Are you seriously proposing to require studios to make movies no one wants to watch and TV shows no one tunes in to, purely to fulfill a quota? Isn’t it bad enough that businesses have to hire useless workers with no skills who know they don’t have to do their jobs because they are needed to fulfill some stupid quota, without making people produce products the market doesn’t want to fulfill quotas? By the way, 2% homosexual probably does reflect the percent in society. Just because most of the people in the arts are homosexual doesn’t mean the general population is. As for the percent of workers, prove to me that anyone has been excluded. Maybe there are small percentages of some classifications because those people never applied for the jobs in the first place. I am so tired of the politics of victimization.

    • Lisa says:

      But why would anybody NOT want to watch a bunch of White Men fighting a bunch of White Men? It’s so original and exciting and we’ve tried everything else and nothing else makes as much MONEY!!! Right?

  13. lorenzo demetrius jackson says:

    Why does “everyone deserves to have their stories seen and heard?” By the standard the study applies, every movie should have every cultural group represented or it is lacking diversity.
    The issue is a non-issue – If you want your movie seen and heard go make it – today you can find funding everywhere. It isn’t about inclusion – it is about making good movies. Why do I have to have an equal population of male and female directors? Or 30% Asian actors? etc, etc, etc. The public knows what it likes and buys what it like, there is plenty of diversity and the term has become PC for certain special interests. IF I am a studio, I have shareholders, my job isn’t to go find diversity, it is to make and sell movies. If cultural groups feel out – start your own studios. Why should I fund your picture just because you are a woman, or Latino or anything except a good filmmaker?

    • blip says:

      One teensy detail: women represent slightly more than fifty percent of the population. We aren’t a minority, honey– and some of us are sick as hell of being treated like one.

      • Lisa says:

        We’re not waiting for someone to ‘hand’ us anything Matt. We have done the work, but it stalls. And even if we did ‘pick up a camera’ the chances of the film getting anywhere is almost nil. Don’t pull that crap on us, we’re not buying anymore.

      • Matt Novak says:

        True women are not a minority but if you are waiting for a bunch of wealthy white men to hand you something I wouldn’t hold your breath. That’s why I picked up a camera and started making films on my own.

        Also the idea that gender and diversity are somehow not tied to class is a huge failing on why more woman and minorities are not in the film industry. Class plays an enormous role on what stories are being told and who tells them. If a woman or a black man need a degree from Harvard or a MBA from USC to make a film, you have already pushed out the majority of the population of the planet from the industry.

      • Tyler Brink Ethic says:

        How do you treat minorities? Is being treated like a minority be a bad thing?

    • Cat says:

      Because without diversity, we are stuck with complete white privilege garbage like the crap Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen “produce.”

      • flosse says:

        Well, that is at least a bit better than the cr** Spike Lee is selling as art. Not much, but a bit…

  14. Jo Mama says:

    The moral and social decline in America’s culture points back to the Tavistock Institute (est. 1913), where it’s been admitted that Masons and Zionists have designed to weaken the American white male and destroy the American family through feminism and abortion (they also founded Planned Parenthood in 1933 under the Van Duyn family).

    So this little scuffle of rich people and fans getting vicious with one another is just the ultimate enjoyment for them, while the Academy could care less. They’ll still pass out golden idols of Ptah this Sunday evening.

    With this black wave, you should change the Oscar to Set, don’t you think?

  15. Dordor says:

    They needed a study to know that? Hope they didn’t pay much for the obvious.

  16. Jake says:

    A qualified work force is better than a diverse one!

    • Lisa says:

      And we get the old ‘He can’t spell, he can’t even tie his shoelace, but he’s a white male, so that makes him more qualified than she’ll ever be’. This is just ridiculous. That’s the only excuse you qualify your bad behaviour with. It’s getting tired.

    • Dordor says:

      Yeah Jake, that’s what baseball said when it was all white and found out the game was a zillion times better when black athletes entered the league under fair competition.

      • Tyler Brink Ethic says:

        Dordor, I think that was the point Jake was making…

      • Jeff Levine says:


        Black athletes were victims of racism. Real racism. They battled their way into the white enclave of pro sports with courage, dignity and talent. It takes none of those attributes for someone to insist they should have a job because of some screwy reverse-racist notion of entitlement.

        This is especially true of the the arts and entertainment, which are purely subjective. Should a gallery show artists based on diversity? Sure – if that’s what they want to do. But if they just want to show work that they like, or that they think will sell, or for any other reason, without regard for any group, that’s what they should and will do, whether or not you share their subjective opinion about the work. Same goes for “Hollywood,” which, by the way, isn’t a thing, and neither is “the studios.” Movies are made by people, and they all have different reasons for how and why they make them.

        Reasons they’re entitled to.

  17. Jeff Barge says:

    It’s just like that old show, “Leave It To Beaver.”

  18. tlsnyder42 says:

    Did they count Jews and Christians, or Republicans and Conservatives?

  19. Nanny Mo says:

    Disgusting that this type of racism is preached in Hollywood, a culture where it was once believed that talent of any color could make it. Now, all these racists see is the color of a man’s skin and say, “There’s too much white.” It’s like the Academy is the modern rendition of Hitler, saying “There are too many semitic noses in Germany!” Hollywood and the Academy should boo this type of antiquated thought and embrace talent each year, whatever color it is. I don’t see white faces, I see this years talent, but if this type of racism continues, when a deserving minority actor wins, no one will believe it was for talent, only for pity. For shame, for shame!

    • Holly Wood says:

      This is intended for Nanny Mo, not Michelle:

      “… racism is preached in Hollywood,…”
      Who preaches racism in Hollywood? NAMES.

      “These racists… say “there’s too much white.” Which racists? NAMES.

      “…the Academy is the modern rendition of Hitler…” I’d make fun of you for saying that but you beat me to it by saying that. But hey – I’m sure if a Holocaust survivor or any of their family happens to read this they’ll appreciate the comparison.

      The only thing you’re right about is that now we have to worry that if a non-white wins anything, no one will believe it’s for talent. And why would that be?

      Because of ignorant, racist tools like you.

    • Thank you for your much appreciated comment, amen to that. #NannyMo

  20. Chris O says:

    Go to Asia, and you’ll find that most of their films are primarily composed of Asian actors. Go to India, and you’ll find that most of their films are primarily composed of Indian actors. Go to Britain, and you’ll find that most of their films contain British actors. Go to America, and you’ll find that most of their films are primarily composed of American actors.

    I’m kind of getting sick of all of this feminist propaganda condemning straight white men for the things that they do, without actually realizing the irony that they too are being sexist and racist. Less women are in the film industry because, quite frankly, they just don’t find it interesting.

    But then again, we’re always happy to complain whenever there’s a lack of parity in a field dominated by straight white men, but never the other way around.

    • mypoorhoney says:

      I had to hire ten directors. Only two women applied, one was black. I hired them both. Then a”blistering study” accused me of having a “boy’s club” because I didn’t have enough diversity. I fired everyone and became a dog sitter.

    • Rex says:

      Want to see more black people in the movies? Hollywood already makes them. Want to see more Asians in the movies? Hollywood makes those, too. Same for Latino-flavoured productions. Granted, they’re not blockbuster movies, but they’re often critical successes and in some cases, they actually turn a profit, both from within and outside the cultures they reflect on screen. The problem is that the people jockeying for the most face time on the subject — most of whom are white, ironically, INCLUDING Drs. Stacy L. Smith and Katherine Pieper — cant actually spare the time from moaning that there aren’t enough Black, Asian and Latino characters shoehorned into their high-concept, studio-made blockbusters to actually take in the FULL SPECTRUM of movies that Hollywood — nay, NORTH AMERICA — produces each year. If they did, they couldn’t produce loaded reports like the Annenberg studies that seem designed primarily to produce headlines and score spots on talk shows.

      • Mike M says:

        Movies have to be one of the best depictions of the capitalist economy in action. Supply and demand working flat out at 100% to make money. Nobody can argue this, it is fact. It’s also a major reason everyone left out is making so much noise to be included or they wouldn’t bother. They aren’t all wailing over the percentages and inclusion/exclusions of trash collectors for example.

        Butt let’s put that aside a moment. Once you decided to start a study of any kind, if you expect it to be scientific, if you expect it to be meaningful, and above all if you expect it not to be outright laughed at, then it MUST include meaningful analysis of ALL relevant criteria. This is best done with ALL data. When that is not possible, then a sample can be used to extrapolate an INDICATIVE analysis.

        But even when sampling, ALL comparisons are only then themselves meaningful when ALL relevant data blocks pertinent to finding a result are included.

        So, a lot of words, but what is wrong here then you ask?

        1) A study would have to include either ALL films, OR a sample (preferably of equal percentage, or at least randomly selected) of films from ALL genres, styles and budgets of film making.

        2) A study would have to include comparative data on the number of data blocks (in this can human beings) actively available to be included in the selection process. Here we are talking about the number of people actively seeking work in the fields of industry concerned each year the data was extracted.

        3) A study would have to include comparative data on the number of data blocks (people again) of each type actually IN EXISTENCE.

        So a VALID study would be throwing out values like this (using a wholly fabricated example here): There were 5% of this race/gender/sexual orientation in the country this year. That race/gender/sexual orientation made up 3% of the directors seeking work. That race/gender/sexual orientation were engaged in 2% of the directing roles in the media entities sampled.

        This study represents a woefully mis-chosen portion of 1), and no component AT ALL for 2) nor 3).

        An extrapolation of the real value of this study using the same methods would be:

        “100% of ALL Americans that EVER lived are/were racist, AND sexist, AND sexually phobic based on the absolute fact that not ONE black, female, lesbian has ever been elected president of the United States.

        Sorry no there is no inclusion in this study as to whether any ever tried to be, nor even whether any ever even existed nor what their percentage of the population was. For the purpose of this study that data is not relevant. And now let the country march and vilify itself for its transgressions against, well absolutely every minority/gender/sexual preference combination possible.”

        I make no claim to there being no issue here to be proven. But this kind of approach only HURTS the acceptance of any real proof by ensuring those least likely to accept it will never be open to even considering it based on the ridiculous proposals of “fact” that have gone before.

      • Mad says:

        If you actually spent a few minutes reading, you’d quickly find out that the reason they “only” do top 100 films is because they are the most relevant. Those films make the most money, most people see them, they hire the most actors and film crew. That this should be a product of what people want to see, or what will make the most money is actually false. The team has addressed this in studies, where they’ve done such research and disproven such notions that we only see mostly white people (or whatever) because more people want to see them, simply not true.

        It would be unnecessary, not to mention extremely difficult in terms of time constraints and having enough people to do the analysis, to include ALL films made. But, if you are so interested in that spectrum of films, the team has actually done quite a few reports on indie films as well. and surprise surprise, the situation is not any better there.

      • Rex says:

        It’s worth noting that Smith and Pieper’s “blistering” studies — which date back several years now — exclusively, consistently and by design target only the most “popular” films, i.e. ONLY the top-grossing ONE-HUNDRED (or so) movies in any given year. Considering American (and realistically, Canadian) film industries produce anywhere from three to five times that number (especially if you include lower-budget fare that goes direct to streaming or DVD or what have you), and possibly more, that’s one hell of a lot of films that are being left out of their equations, and it particularly leaves out movies where non-caucasian casts are often larger and more inclusive than in big budget studio tentpoles. Taking the top 100 most successful movies from a given year as a sample unreasonably singles out the kinds of movies that MAKE THE MOST MONEY, something they do in part BECAUSE of their casting decisions, which are clearly indicative of what people want to see, regardless of ethnic makeup of audiences.

  21. Donna says:

    Today’s complainers should work harder and establish their own businesses if they don’t like Hollywood’s climate.

  22. Annie says:

    Do people really need the approval of hollywood that badly?

  23. MJK says:

    It is amazing that white Hollywood finally recognizes something that black people have recognized for decades. Highly praised and regarded works from African Americans almost always get overlooked during awards season. One simply needs to look at HBO for the consummate example of white Hollywood’s racist ways. Every year the Emmy awards HBO series that are all white or predominately white casted series with a slew of Emmy awards. The one period of time when a predominantly black casted series ran on HBO to the highest of praise and affirmation from film and tv critics, THE WIRE, is exactly the same time that a highly regarded HBO series got ZERO RECOGNITION. This is not an anomaly in Hollywood during awards season. it happens over and over again. FRUITVALE STATION- zero recognition from Oscars; THE COLOR PURPLE- +10 nominations, ZERO wins; SELMA- one award for BEST SONG(wink, wink); but ZERO acting, directing, writing, or editing recognition. So, in conclusion, black actors are well aware that they are considered ZEROS in the acting world of HOLLYWOOD.

    • flosse says:

      Come on, black actors have their own awards, plural. Not as prestigious as the Academy Awards. And these awards are exclusively for black actors.
      Does a movie has to represent the diversity of today’s society? No, it is entertainment, nothing more nothing less.
      Yes, Color Purple did not win best picture in 1986. Neither did Kiss of the Spiderwoman which deals with homosexuality.
      Does the Academy (not Hollywood, if we talk about Oscars, it is the Academy) consider black actors as ZEROS? I beg to differ, pointing at Cuba Gooding Jr., Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx and others who received awards or at least nominations. Sometimes 5 other people are just better or more popular then other/black actors and actresses.

  24. Joe says:

    what a load of crap. The last time I checked the cast of EMPIRE the most successful show on TV has black actors and 1/2 of its fan base are WHITE STRAIGHT PEOPLE as you put it. As for sexual identity either gay straight trans or etc, several shows on TV have trans characters as well as gay characters. Eddie Redmayne is nominated for Best Actor this year for playing the firs trans person known in history.

  25. Of these “white boys” how many are jewish?

  26. Robbie says:

    Some of the comments are correct but the lack of those studying in acting, directing because from birth their is a mental war America has created that you will never achieve anything if your Spanish or Black. Spanish women never wanted me, they wanted white men because materially they saw no future in me, and my own community only offered a real bleak future for me. I fought the mental war, I will never listen to anyone in my path to success. This recipe of discouragement has shown its fruit, take the train in NYC all the white stops the people look happy the black stops the people look downtrodden, what can they tell their children if the world just gave them a mental beating.

  27. Why are so many of you efforting to discredit this study? It’s not like it’s news. The cry for diversity has been ringing through the air for as long as I can remember and I’m 43 years old. If you can’t hear it (or see it) then maybe you’re not affected by it and ignoring the issue works for you just fine. But don’t act like it’s a fabrication. Thousands of women and minorities across the country struggling to achieve the American Dream is not a figment of the imagination.

  28. Reality Check says:

    The same study also revealed that all of the bars on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood are straight.

  29. yakagootchie says:

    Drive down to the bank and take out a loan and then start YOUR own production company and hire whomever YOU wish and tell the stories YOU want to tell. This is a BUSINESS.

    • Alfred Sharpen Sr. says:

      I know in your perfect world going to a bank and getting a loan is easy as 1,2,3. However, please google the various Justice Dept settlements recently with several banks about discrimination practices towards minorities. Everything from car and business loans to mortgages. The internets is your friend. Also, everyone has a production company. The problem is twofold getting funding and distribution. Only the studios have he knowledge to market and distribute a film in theaters domestically and internationally. Even if you had the money say $10mil for a film how are you going to convince a theater chain; for example AMC to carry your film when in more likely hood they have an arrangement with the major studios to showcase those films. In other worlds its not as simple as having money. Read up on George Lucas’ attempt to get Red Tails distributed. That’s George Lucas. Now imagine Joe and Jane Regular trying to do the same thing.

      • yakagootchie says:

        Simply put — the phrase “I know in your perfect world” is a non-starter for discussion. Are there obstacles? Absolutely. But you are dreaming if you think “straight white boys” are going to simply hand over the keys and step aside, especially when sequels and super hero films and whatever other vanilla garbage they churn out keeps making them money. So … my ONLY point was that if you don’t like the way things are, AND you care that much about it, then CHANGE it. Period. There are plenty of people who are living in this very imperfect world and doing start ups and creating diverse programming and what not outside of the “system”. But by all means, sit on the sidelines and stomp your feet and yell at “them”. Sooner or later, they’ll have to start making more diverse films, right?

      • yakagootchie says:

        My “perfect world”? HAHAHAHA! Dude, I’ve done exactly what I said – Been in the business 23 years and have owned my production company 11 of those. I have secured funding for a few films and have gotten theatrical and worldwide distribution. Sounds like you have no solutions and simply want the people who put their ass on the line to pay for other people’s stories. But then again, I am a “privileged” white straight boy who very obviously has been handed everything I’ve gotten. Forget I grew up in a mobile home, served in the military and paid my way through college. Yup, you’re right. Just sit there and whine about how the film industry owes you something.

      • RK says:

        Thanks for being a voice of of reason. People that throw out false-equivlants, like the one you rebuked, are latent with the old inuendo “We live in a meritocracy, so minorities just aren’t working hard enough / they just aren’t good enough…”

  30. HPR says:

    I’d take it a step further: a straight, white Jewish boys club. I don’t mean this as anti-semitic…but there is an over-representation. And to sustain that kind of thing requires keeping certain people in and certain people out.

    • JackRuooby says:

      Absolutely true. Jewish people are 2% of the American population yet they represent 83% of Hollywood executives.

      • Bill B. says:

        I don’t know if those figures are true or not, but I can tell you that at one time I spent a decade employed by a major entertainment union and it was run predominantly by older while male Jews. However, I also once worked for a property management firm and it too was run by mostly older white male Jews. In my last 9 year position, I worked for a social service agency and lo and behold, it was a similar situation. I think this issue might cover more than just Hollywood.

  31. Nilo Otero says:

    Now let us compare these inclusion percentages to those of other major economic players in the economy and see how they stack up

  32. David5309 says:

    15 years ago, I made an independent film while living in Hollywood. I put a casting notice in the proper trades looking for actors to play 3 parts. One of these parts had to be an African American, the other two parts could have been played by anyone.
    I received over 5,000 headshot and resumes for these 3 parts. Of those, only about 20 were from African Americans. I ended up hiring a casting agent to fill that one part.
    Maybe the problem is not that Hollywood is racist, Maybe the problem is that minorities are not as actively pursuing jobs in Hollywood.

    • MJK says:

      You make an awfully big and ridiculous assumption based upon one small event in your life from 15 ears ago. So let’s examine your statement. Because you got 20 hits from African American actors, FOR YOUR ONE ROLE, you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably not racist Hollywood that is the problem, but rather it must be that minorities must be too lazy to pursue job opportunities. It couldn’t possibly be that you had 20 qualified actors for the job, of which you chose none. Itcouldn’t possibly be that no one wanted a job in your little INDEPENDENT FILM. By the way, if you’re going to be so simplistic in your thinking, it reveals much about the lack of qaulity in your project(s). What was the name of your independent project? What was the role of the African American actor? Did it win any major awards? Oscars? Emmys? It’s easy to sit back and judge blacks based on your personal bias’, beliefs, and stereotypical prejudices, because tangible proof is a much harder thing to grasp.

    • KJM says:

      Says the person who is citing an event from 15 years ago. You’re a part of the problem.

      • mypoorhoney says:

        No you are part of the problem KJM! The person was simply stating his experience and then you attacked him! That was a very stupid thing to do. You demand respect yet can’t you can’t be respectful yourself. Stay out of the conversation if you can’t be civil. No one wants to hear it.

      • David5309 says:

        I was giving an opinion based on my experiences. If you would like to argue that things have changed based on your experiences, go ahead. but to just name call makes you look foolish

  33. mypoorhoney says:

    Does the study actually take into consideration the population of percentage of women and minorities applying? If you look at TV and Digital, the numbers show more women working, over 65%. That’s a lot ore than men! So does that make TV a “girls club?” Also, does the study take into account how many women and minorities actually pursue a career as a director? In my film school (back in the late 1990s) I’d say we had about 30% women, and 15-20% minorities, so wouldn’t the current numbers actually make sense? Basically, if I’m hiring 10 directors and only 2 women apply and I hire them, I’m going to get crap because I only have 2 female directors? Seems like the idiots in the media are at it again.

    Variety, are you being honest here or just writing sensationalist journalism?

    • Person who gets it says:

      I’m just gonna assume you’re the “liberal” type in your day to day but when you get online you find ways to justify prejudice and issues of diversity.

      Your first statement is kind of the issue at hand. Applying for a job in hollywood isn’t like applying to one at Burger King. Hollywood is largely about connections to the right people and the right people are the old guard composed of mostly white males. You’ll get a handful of minorities in office positions at major studios via low paying internships but these are not creative positions. Access is the issue we’re talking about not the amount of people with interest (there wouldn’t be a billion web series created by minorities and women if they just didn’t have as much interest in filmmaking as white males).

      TV on the other hand has far more fellowship programs to increase the diversity in the writers room and other creative areas and low and behold TV is seeing it’s biggest resurgence in years.

      Also you’ve misread the stat regarding TV. It’s saying in total 65% of creatives are either women, minorities or LGBT (unless you don’t think a minority or lgbt can be a man).

      I think unfortunately the issue is those who greenlight movies just don’t see the value in stories told by people who aren’t white males. The will throw a bone if it’s fronted by Meryl Streep or Tyler Perry but generally speaking, they just don’t care…Sales don’t even seem to be their biggest issues because unlike the box office bombs fronted by white dudes films fronted by disenfranchised groups get a pretty good return on investment.

      • mypoorhoney says:

        I’ve been fighting for equality of the sexes and equality of all the races my whole life, because I was raised in a family and a religion that instilled those virtues in me from childhood. I’m engaged to a minority women, and I too am considered a minority by some, as well I’ve been helping all my female friends in the director’s chair. There are a lot of assumptions made on these threads, but typically they are way off base. My point was very simple, and that is that there are less minorities pursuing filmmaking careers, perhaps because the population of blacks and Hispanics is roughly 30-35%. The same argument can be made about the NBA. One can be a simpleton and state that the NBA is an all black man’s club, that hardly any white men ever gets MVP… The reality is that in the black community professional sports is as big a deal, if not more, than being a professional actor. When you go to an acting school TODAY, you see that about 20-30% are minorities. I TOTALLY AGREE that there should be minorities and women in film, in fact I have a substantial film based in Africa with 95% black actors, and in my last film I even replaced a white actor’s role with a black actor because I wanted to see more diversity, and to be honest I feel he did a much better job than anyone else could’ve. My last two films feature female leads, and so does my TV series that I’m pitching. So please back off and don’t ASSUME things about me. I’m actually doing the right thing. That doesn’t mean I can’t call things the way they are, not the way I’m being told they are. In MY experience there is certainly a problem in film, NOT television. I’m simply asking if other factors, such as minority enrollment was also taken into consideration. What I see is that there are more girls growing up confident and with a sense of equality, and there is no question that we are seeing more and more women calling the shots. Let’s look at ALL the facts, not just the “feels” because feelings often don’t speak the truth.

    • Timmeh says:

      So, you think the world should be based on your anecdotal experience and not recent empirical data?

  34. Tony says:


  35. Paramount Employee says:

    I find it extreeeeeeeeeeeeeemly ironic that an article about diversity in Hollywood mentions every demographic, but the most significant in the room. That 75% of the people working in Hollywood, especially in decision-making positions are Jewish. Journalism much?

    • Timmeh says:

      WTF does religion have to do with ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender?

      Take your anti-Semitism some place else, bigot.

      • Shadowman says:

        I think he makes a point, as he’s mentioning groups of people. Women can be classified as a group, Gays, Bisexuals, Lesbians, & Transgenders as groups, Blacks as a group, Latino’s, Asians, Europeans, Mediterraneans, Africans, Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Jewish people, all can be considered as separate groups.

        Not to mention it’s a historical fact that Jewish people created Hollywood, and have maintained a firm control by virtue of Jews hiring Jews. That’s an indisputable historical fact. Go on the IMDB and look up the names of all the top executives running the top largest studios, and production companies, and you’ll see they’re owned and run primarily by Jewish people.

        Stating a fact relevant to the discussion is not being bigoted, or anti-Semitic, it’s merely stating facts.

        Please only use the term Anti-Semitic when it truly is. Otherwise you weaken the validity of that description, for when it counts most!

      • JackRuooby says:

        Can’t point out facts about Jewish people without being labeled Anti-semetic. I see what you did there.

    • wayne Klein says:

      Except that Judism is a religion not a race nor sex.

  36. E Mara says:

    So when the marketplace is flooded with a bunch of PC Police approved movies and they flop at the box office, what will the industry do then? Reality never comes into play in these BS studies. Good luck with that.

    • KJM says:

      You sound hurt. The study is bs because you can’t handle the changes coming. These are facts. No one needed a report to show them what world sees. Sorry this hurt your feelings.

    • Timmeh says:

      You mean the like the highly successful Fast & Furious films starring biracial Vin Diesel or the Hunger Game films starring Jennifer Lawrence? Oh, and all the action films that made Will Smith such a success?

      Please tell me how films starring women and non-whites are going to bomb so hard when many of the biggest blockbusters are led by them?

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