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WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey on Diversity: ‘We’ve Got More Work to Do’

WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey has asserted that the entertainment giant must improve its efforts in diversity and inclusion — while insisting he’s proud of the work done so far.

Stankey made the statement Thursday as part of the release of WarnerMedia’s first-ever annual report looking at diversity, inclusion and belonging across both its corporate operations and the films, television series and digital content created by its various production businesses.

“Across the WarnerMedia companies, we have a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and consider these values an important part of our culture and a business priority,” said Stankey, who is also president and chief operating officer of AT&T Inc.

“While I’m incredibly proud of what this report shows and our ongoing dedication to transparency, I recognize that we’ve got more work to do at every level,” he added. “We know diversity, inclusion and belonging are important to our employees, our creative partners, our customers and to our success.”

The report was released a year after WarnerMedia announced a Production Diversity Policy which included the commitment to report on its diversity and inclusion efforts annually. The initiative went public just as production began on the Michael B. Jordan-Brie Larson legal drama “Just Mercy” with WarnerMedia crediting Jordan, an exec producer of the film, and Jordan’s WME agent Phillip Sun for helping to craft the policy.

The report covers the workforce (including workforce composition, Employee Resource Groups), content (including scripted TV, films, news, animation) and community (including industry and local outreach partnerships and programs). The key findings on workforce and production staffing:

  • WarnerMedia’s global workforce is 54% male and 46% female, and its U.S. workforce is 53% male and 47% female. Half of all new hires and promotions to vice president and above are women.
  • 42% of non-managers are people of color, but representation decreases at more senior levels. The percentage of people of color who were hired or promoted in 2018 exceeds their total percentage across all levels. “This will lead to increased representation going forward,” the report said.
  • Women represent 34% of on-screen roles in non-film scripted programming and 23% of behind-the-camera positions while people of color represent 24% of onscreen roles and 23% of behind-the-camera positions.

WarnerMedia noted that the 2018 report only tracked gender and race and promised that subsequent reports will reflect WarnerMedia’s development of new processes, tools and formats for gathering more detailed information about the diversity of its workforce and productions, allowing it to better tailor its efforts and outreach. It also noted WarnerMedia hired its first chief enterprise inclusion officer, Christy Haubegger.

The entire report is available here. The news was first reported by Deadline.

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