*The lack of diversity in Hollywood is nothing new. It just got a new light shined on it, courtesy of the debacle going on with the hacked emails from Sony Pictures.
The most recent example came Wednesday evening when BuzzFeed published an email conversation between Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin, The Huffington Post noted. In their discussion, the pair highlighted President Barack Obama and various films featuring African-American actors and storylines. Among the films they felt Obama enjoyed were “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Django Unchained” and “Ride Along.”
Despite an apology issued Thursday from Pascal, who said the emails were “insensitive and inappropriate,” and another one the same day from Rudin, who admitted the notes were “written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity,” the damage was done.
The Rev. Al Sharpton responded to the situation via a statement of his own on Thursday, saying, “What is most troubling about these statements is that they reflect a continued lack of diversity in positions of power in major Hollywood studios. The statements clearly show how comfortable major studio powers are with racial language and marginalization,” and called for studios to show a greater respect for African Americans in their hiring practices.
Sharpton’s comments further highlight a continuing disregard for diversity in an industry that sees frequent support and money from African-Americans, who according to data presented by the Motion Pictures Association of America, represent an increasing percentage of the movie-going audience despite a limited onscreen and behind-the-scenes presence.
Earlier this year, a study by the University of Southern California found that only 6.5 percent of 100 of the top-grossing films of 2013 had a black director. Films that don’t have a black director had black characters in only 10.8 percent of speaking parts, the study goes on to reveal. On the flipside, black directors cast black characters in nearly half of their films’ speaking roles.
“The lack of diversity behind the camera is notable as we have again demonstrated an association between the presence of a Black director and the percentage of Black characters on screen,” researchers wrote. “While this relationship may be due to the nature of the content that Black directors are given or choose to helm, adding diversity in the director’s chair may influence what we see on screen.”
Get the rest of this story at Huffington Post.