Dr. Darnell Hunt, Director of the Bunche Center at UCLA, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss Hollywood’s diversity numbers behind the Academy Awards and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
The Bunche Center at UCLA releases an annual diversity report through a series of quantifiable statistics showing where the entertainment industry falls short in inclusion and representation.
From the Bunche Center:
“The Bunche Center’s location in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, pro- vides unrivaled access to Hollywood’s leaders and creative talent. Its position as an inter- disciplinary “think tank” allows center researchers to leverage the strengths of UCLA the campus’s renowned faculty, outstanding humanities and social science divisions, and state-of-the-art research libraries with the center’s own unique assets as the West Coast’s premier research institute on African American Studies.”
Hunt explained that the diversity numbers in Hollywood are “pretty bad and the only question is how bad they are for the different areas — we’re (African-Americans) pretty much under-represented in every position — in front of the camera, behind the camera, directors, producers, show creators, the talent agencies, the lead talent — it’s a pretty abysmal picture.”
According to the Bunche Center report, minorities, which constitute 40 percent of the United States population in 2013, “posted small to modest gains in several Hollywood employment arenas since the last report, they remain underrepresented on every front.”
Minorities are outnumbered in Hollywood:
- Greater than 2 to 1 among film leads
- 2 to 1 among film directors
- 3 to 1 among film writers
- Nearly 6 to 1 among broadcast scripted leads
- Nearly 2 to 1 among cable scripted leads
- Greater than 2 to 1 among leads for both broadcast and cable reality and other shows
- Nearly 2 to 1 among digital and syndicated platform leads
- Greater than 6 to 1 among the creators of broadcast scripted shows
- Greater than 3 to 1 among the creators of cable scripted shows
- Greater than 7 to 1 among the creators of digital platform and syndicated shows
The 2015 Bunche Center report states Hollywood’s executive suites are dominated by White males.
- Film studio heads were 94 percent white and 100 percent male
- Film studio senior management was 92 percent white and 83 percent male
- Film studio unit heads were 96 percent white and 61 percent male
- Television network and studio heads were 96 percent white and 71 percent male
- Television senior management was 93 percent white and 73 percent male
- Television unit heads were 86 percent white and 55 percent male
Hunt told Martin there is a “structural problem” in Hollywood: “We’re nowhere near catching up with the diversity in America — in fact, at the rate that the Academy is diversifying, it may be another 50 years before we have anything that remotely looks like America.”
“We have a really, really long way to go,” said Hunt.
Hunt later added, “We have a conflict of interest between these individuals who hold these powerful positions and the institutions they work for.”
“It’s actually in the interest of these multi-national corporations to get more diverse,” Hunt said. “Our study shows clearly that diversity sells … they’re not making the projects because the people in control don’t know how to make those projects and they don’t want to let other people in the room — they don’t want to share the power because then it delegitimizes their claim to having the jobs.”
Watch Roland Martin, Dr. Darnell Hunt, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Hollywood’s abysmal diversity stats in the video clip above.
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