MON., FEB. 5: LATINOS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST THE CHRONIC UNDERREPRESENTATION OF LATINOS IN THE FILM INDUSTRY
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. – At the February 5 Oscars® Nominees Luncheon held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) Action Network held the first of two demonstrations targeting studio film executives attending the very visible Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences events. The demonstrations launch a national campaign protesting the chronic underrepresentation of Latinos in on-screen and behind-the-camera roles in motion pictures. A second demonstration is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, a time and location to be announced in the coming weeks.The NHMC Action Network represents independent writers and producers, and casting, production and entertainment marketing companies.
“Hollywood continues to be challenged by gender and ethnic diversity,” said Alex Nogales, NHMC president and chief executive officer. “Our upcoming demonstrations are only the first of what will become increasingly aggressive wake-up calls to Hollywood executives to end the exclusion of Latinos in the industry. By targeting the very important and visible Academy events, we’re publically serving notice to the motion picture executives that we’re not asking for equity anymore. We’re demanding it.”
“At 18% of the U.S. population, Latinos represent 24 percent of all movie ticket buyers. Yet, Latinos remain the most underrepresented minority in the industry. Enough is enough. It’s time to end whitewashing and put Latinos in front of and behind the camera.”
According to studies conducted by the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, from 2007 to 2016:
Only 3.1% Hispanics appeared in films from 2007 – 2016;
From 2007 – 2016, in 900 popular films, as examined by USC Annenberg, only one Latina directed one of the films; and
Of the top 100 films in 2016, 72 had no Latinas.
Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who participated in the demonstration, said, “Demographics show that Latinos make up 56 million plus in the country, yet films in this country fail to represent the true composition of the U.S. And then when you do have Latina roles their character tends to be overly sexualized. Our children need better images of themselves and invisibility doesn’t do justice to our artists or our community.”
Santiago Pozo, founder and chief executive officer, Arenas Entertainment, added, “The Hollywood business model is broken. It is a systemic problem in our industry that keeps Latinos invisible. To exclude the alpha consumer in front and behind the camera does enormous damage to the development of our community, the prosperity of our industry, and the health of our nation. It is obvious that we critically need Latino and Latina executives in positions of real power to bring the lens of diversity and inclusion to the entertainment business.”
Marissa Herrera, NHMC Action Network member, producer, and third generation Mexican-American, said, “I am taking a leadership role in this movement to shed light on a historical problem- the huge inequity of opportunities for Latinos in Hollywood. It’s not a ‘Latino issue,’ it is an industry issue, which can only be addressed by Latinos also being at the table as executives, directors, writers, producers, and actors to greenlight and tell our own authentic and beautiful stories.”
Additional speakers included Moctesuma Esparza, chief executive officer and producer, Maya Cinemas and Tom Saenz, president and general counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
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The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is the media watchdog for the Latino community, ensuring that we are fairly and consistently represented in news and entertainment and that our voices are heard over the airwaves and on the internet.
We exist to challenge executives and influencers throughout the entertainment and news industry to eliminate barriers for Latinos to express themselves and be heard through every type of medium. NHMC works to bring decision-makers to the table to open new opportunities for Latinos to create, contribute and consume programming that is inclusive, free from bias and hate rhetoric, affordable and culturally relevant.