A coalition of film and television critics associations are teaming up to help foster greater diversity in entertainment journalism.
The new Critics Groups for Equality in Media (CGEM) is comprised of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the Features Forum of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (LEJA), the Online Association of Female Film Critics (OAFFC) and Time’s Up Entertainment.
“Each of our groups represents a unique perspective — often informed by oppression — that enriches and shapes society,” said GALECA executive director John Griffiths in a statement. “Yet, even amid today’s stepped-up push for diversity and inclusivity progress has been slow and many fail to realize that our group’s voices — if amplified to match their true value — can provide a roadmap for boosting creativity, box office, ratings and excitement for a project. Our goal is to break down those barriers for ourselves, for audiences and for the next generation of entertainment journalists.”
While CGEM’s official programming not been announced, the group is exploring several initiatives, including a “watchdog component” that will grade studios, networks and publicity firms on their engagement with the individual critic associations. CGEM is also discussing an awards program to honor publicity and media executives who support and push for equality in media.
While Time’s Up Entertainment is not a critics association, it launched the Critics Initiative last year to work to increase access in Hollywood for underrepresented critics and entertainment reporters along with Critical, a database to help studios and networks connect with a more diverse group of media professionals.
“Early critical response to a movie determines important factors such as marketing budget and distribution,” said Time’s UP Entertainment’s director of initiatives Mara Grobins Nasatir. “Without greater diversity among the critical voices responding to content, not all movies, directors, writers and creators are given the same opportunities to succeed.”