Washington, Feb 13: A new study has revealed that when it comes to influential positions in the entertainment industry, minorities and women are represented at rates far below what would be expected given their percentage of the general population.
In fact, the study done at UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies shows that the proportion of female and minority actors, writers, directors and producers in films and TV ranges from just one-twelfth to one-half of their actual population percentage.
“The report paints a picture of an industry that is woefully out of touch with an emerging America, an America that’s becoming more diverse by the day,” lead author Darnell Hunt, the center’s director, said.
The underrepresentation is especially noteworthy because the study found that greater diversity in TV and film productions actually increases viewers, resulting in higher profits for studios and networks.
“Hollywood does pretty well financially right now, but it could do a lot better if it were better reflecting the diversity of America,” Hunt, who is also a professor of sociology in UCLA’s College of Letters and Science, said.
The UCLA analysis focused on the top 172 American-made movies from 2011 and more than 1,000 television shows that aired on 68 cable and broadcast networks during the 2011-12 season.
Researchers looked at the level of diversity both in front of and behind the camera, on the rosters of Hollywood’s most prominent talent agencies, and among the winners of such industry accolades as the Academy and Emmy awards.
The study found that minorities were featured in starring film and TV roles far less often than would be expected given their share of the overall US population, which stands at just more than 36 percent.
They fared a little better in all forms of entertainment (not including sports) on cable television and in reality programming on broadcast TV, appearing as leads at about half the expected rate. But the situation was worse in broadcast TV comedies and dramas, where they were underrepresented by a factor of seven-to-one, the study found. (ANI)