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Latino Groups to Protest Paramount Studios Over Lack of Representation

Two Latino civil rights organizations on Saturday will stage a protest outside Paramount Pictures in an effort to pressure the studio to increase Latino representation in its films.

Leaders for the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and the National Latino Media Council are focusing their efforts on Paramount, citing statistics from USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and their own research showing Paramount had the fewest number of Latinos in films. The lack of representation, however, is endemic across all of Hollywood. Fewer than 7% of speaking characters in the top 100 films over an 11-year period spanning from 2007 to 2017 were Latino, according to the USC report published last month. That’s up from fewer than 3% the year before.

Alex Nogales, NHMC president, said in an interview Friday that his organization decided to target Paramount after an unsuccessful meeting with studio executives earlier this summer to reach a memorandum of understanding. Nogales said those agreements help set goals in writing in how the studio would boost Latino representation in its films.

The talks stalled after a tense meeting between NHMC leaders and Paramount executives who felt the civil rights group was being overly aggressive in their demands. Nogales defended their tactics, saying change in the industry has been too slow.

A studio spokesperson late last month said Paramount executives “met with NHMC in a good faith effort to see how we could partner as we further drive Paramount’s culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging. Under our new leadership team, we continue to make progress — including ensuring representation in front of and behind the camera in upcoming films such as ‘Dora the Explorer,’ ‘Instant Family,’ ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Limited Partners’ — and welcome the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with the Latinx creative community further.”

Nogales said he is urging Latinos to boycott Paramount films. The demonstration is expected to start at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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