Surprise: Hollywood isn’t the most inclusive storytelling environment.
Earlier this year, an extensive USC study highlighted a serious lack of females and racial minorities, particularly Asian-Americans, in film and television. Today, the LGBT watchdog group GLAAD released a study finding that the exclusion extends to gender and sexual minorities, as well. Moreover, the racial diversity of LGBT characters in Hollywood films actually got even worse in 2015.
“Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and President of GLAAD. “Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”
The GLAAD study didn’t assign any of the major studios “good” grades for LGBT inclusion in 2015, and, in fact, it flunked three of them: Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount. Overall, 17.5 percent of the 126 major studio releases last year included an LGBT character, and 73 percent of the inclusive films give those characters less than 10 minutes of screen time.
Of special concern, according to the report, is the fact that when gender-queer characters appeared in these films, they frequently served as punchlines: Kevin Hart’s Get Hard and The Wedding Ringer are singled out as particularly egregious offenders in this regard. Additionally, the amount of LGBT characters of color in Hollywood decreased by 7 percent relative to 2014.
So-called “art house” studios were more inclusive of LGBT characters, with 22 percent of the releases from Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions and Sony Pictures Classics featuring them—still not remarkably high, but better than the majors and better than the 10.6 percent mark these studios hit last year.
You can read GLAAD’s full report here.