USC Diversity Study Showcases Hollywood's Inclusion Problem

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The #OscarsSoWhite movement now has some serious academic research to back it up. In case anyone was wondering if the lack of diversity in Hollywood was some made-up narrative, the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity (CARD), out of USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, has produced damning evidence that film and television underrepresent both women and minorities.

The CARD examined 414 films, television and digital episodes from 2014-15 and uncovered a host of facts: only one-third of all speaking roles were held by females; 28.3% of all speaking roles were held by minorities (which make up 37.9% of the U.S. population); and, perhaps most glaringly, only 15.2% of directors and 28.9% of screenwriters were female.

“This is no mere diversity problem. This is an inclusion crisis,” said Prof. Stacy L. Smith, the chief author of the CARD and the Founding Director of the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative. “Over half of the content we examined features no Asian or Asian-American characters, and over 20% featured no African-American characters. It is clear that the ecosystem of entertainment is exclusionary.”

The CARD also graded 10 film, television, and streaming distributors based on their inclusion of women and minorities in the works they distributed. All six major film distributors received failing grades in the study’s inclusivity tests. Television and streaming yielded brighter results, with Walt Disney Company, The CW, Amazon, and Hulu earning high grades.

You can read the full findings of the study here. And if you live in Los Angeles, you can attend the presentation of the CARD and an accompanying discussion tonight at 7:00 p.m. PST.

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