The rhetoric in Hollywood may be changing when it comes to inclusion, but the numbers are not, says a study on diversity in popular films.
The report, from Professor Stacy L. Smith, PhD, and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California’s (USC’s) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, reveals that progress toward inclusion remains to be seen among top movies regarding individuals with disabilities, women, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, and the LGBT community.
The investigation examined 48,757 characters in 1,100 top films from 2007 to 2017. Notably, in the 100 top movies of 2017, only 2.5 percent were characters with disabilities.
The report offers solutions, focusing on the inclusion rider, which Smith introduced to the entertainment industry. The study’s authors encourage industry stakeholders to collaborate with them to augment and amend the existing template for the contractual clause. They suggest envisioning new ways to implement best practices and contract language that can contribute to changing on-screen and behind-the-camera diversity. Additional solutions for individuals, executives, and policymakers are also offered.
“Good intentions are not enough to create change,” Smith said. “Hollywood needs tangible, actionable solutions that will usher in real transformation.”
This article was adapted from information provided by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.