Racism and sexism are still rampant in Hollywood, according to a new study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The study examined 800 films from 2007 to 2015, according to a recent news release. Only 26.3 percent of all characters were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, while 31.4 percent of all speaking characters across the 100 top films from 2015 were female, a figure that has not changed since 2007.
“The findings reveal that Hollywood is an epicenter of cultural inequality,” said study author Stacy Smith, who heads the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC. “While the voices calling for change have escalated in number and volume, there is little evidence that this has transformed the movies that we see and the people hired to create them. Our reports demonstrate that the problems are pervasive and systemic.”
Of the top 100 films of 2015, 49 included no Asian or Asian-American characters and 17 featured no African-American characters. Similarly, 45 films did not include a character with a disability and 82 did not feature a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender character. Behind the camera, female directors represented just 4.1 percent of those hired on the 800 films evaluated. Women of color were nearly absent from those ranks, with just three African-American females and one Asian female in the director’s chair. Overall, directors from underrepresented racial groups fared poorly. Only 5.5 percent of the 886 directors examined were African-American and 2.8 percent were Asian or Asian American. For the first time, researchers collected data on characters with disabilities. Most of the characters were played by males and no LGBT characters were depicted, according to the study sample.