Latino leaders on Tuesday called for a boycott of Paramount Studios, singling out the studio for an industry-wide lack of Latino representation in film.
The Pasadena-based National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) organized the boycott after protesting the lack of Latino Oscar nominees last spring, saying it underscored the lack of roles available to Latino actors. Paramount in particular was called out, NHMC leadership said, because it has the worst record for Latino representation, according to a recent UCLA study and NHMC research.
“Latinos can no longer wait for the film companies to, as they say, bring us into their films ‘organically,’” said NHMC president and CEO Alex Nogales. “Latinos must be part and parcel of the film industry. The talent is there and as a community, we need the positive stories and sensitivity of our actors, writers, and directors to counter the anti-Latino rhetoric and actions of the Trump administration who has influenced a large portion of the population to look at us as the dregs of society.”
NHMC leaders have been pushing to meet with studio executives in recent months to broker agreements that would call for the hiring of Latino actors and writers. Nogales and others at a news conference Tuesday said a recent meeting with Paramount Studios leadership was unproductive.
A Paramount Studio spokesperson confirmed the meeting. “We recently 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,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
The lack of Latino representation in film is not unique to Paramount. According to an in-depth study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Latinos represented just 3% of speaking roles in the top 100 films of 2016.
The boycott marks the first time in NHMC’s 32-year history that it is focusing such an effort on the movie business. Past efforts have had success in local television news and with major broadcasters, but this is a new arena, Nogales said.
“Film was one of those places where we had no luck with even meeting with (studio executives),” Nogales told Variety in March. “We’re going to start naming them so we all know who the executives are at the six top studios and saying to them, you are the cause for Latinos not even getting the jobs. It’s your responsibility.”
(Pictured: Alex Nogales)