Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, May 16, 2021
NBC announced this week it would no longer host the Golden Globes. The awards show is presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and has been a mainstay of the film and television industry. But NBC the association isn’t diverse enough. Warner Media, Netflix, and Amazon Studios agree. They pledged to boycott HFPA events. Actor Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globe awards in protest.
The HFPA’s main crime is having no blacks among its 86 members — but the “FP” in HFPA stands for “foreign press.” Members have to be journalists living in Southern California who publish outside the United States. How many African media companies have Hollywood correspondents? But the association still promises to reform. It has hired a “strategic diversity officer.” It promises to increase membership by 50 percent over the next 18 months so it can add blacks. The board said it will do even more if that doesn’t scrounge up enough blacks. The response from NBC, major studios, and A-list actors? That’s not enough.
The Golden Globes boycott is the latest sign of the entertainment industry’s obsession with diversity. Over the last few years, film studios and awards shows have announced countless new efforts to highlight non-white faces. Studios feel the pressure from Black Lives Matter. The management firm McKinsey claims more diversity would even boost entertainment revenue by $10 billion.
This year, the Screen Actors Guild awarded all four of its best-acting prizes to blacks, a first for any major award show. This year’s Oscars were the most “diverse” ever, but were still lambasted for falling short. A white actor, Anthony Hopkins, beat out the favored black, the late Chadwick Boseman, for best actor. Boseman supporters say he was “robbed.” If Boseman had got the award, would anyone dare say Anthony Hopkins was robbed?
Last year, the Oscars set new guidelines for “best picture” to satisfy complaints about white nominees. A contender must now have one of the following:
- At least one actor from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group must be cast in a significant role.
- The story must center on women, L.G.T.B.Q. people, a racial or ethnic group or the disabled.
- At least 30 percent of the cast must be actors from at least two of those four underrepresented categories.
A film like 1917 with nearly all white characters might still be eligible if it’s diverse behind the scenes. Films can be considered if non-whites hold important production and marketing roles. All this will obviously mean a hiring campaign for non-whites.
Movies are more diverse than ever. A UCLA study found that nearly 40 percent of film leads in 2020 were non-white. That’s a major increase from 10.5 percent in 2011. However, the report said Hollywood has to do more because non-whites are “underrepresented” among writers and directors, and films don’t have enough Asian or Hispanic leads.
Companies are doing as they were told. Netflix announced in February it would spend $100 million to boost diversity on screen and off. CBS Television promised that at least 25 percent of its script development budget would go to non-whites. At least 40 percent of the people in its writers’ rooms (where staff meet to work on a show) must be non-white for the 2021-22 season. For the next season, it will be 50 percent. It also mandated that 50 percent of reality-show participants be non-white.
Disney-owned ABC also unveiled quotas last year. All of its TV shows now must meet three of these five standards:
Underrepresented groups 1) compose 50 percent or more of regular and recurring written characters, 2) compose 50 percent or more of regular and recurring actors, 3) are included meaningfully as secondary or more minor on-screen individuals, 4) are integrated meaningfully in overall themes and narratives, and 5) are integrated meaningfully in episodic themes and narratives.
The new rules mean rejection for “incredibly well-written scripts” that are too white. One was about a white family. There were non-white neighbors, but that’s not good enough, according to Dana Walden, Disney Television’s Chairman of Entertainment. “That’s not going to get on the air anymore because that’s not what our audience wants. [How does she know?] That’s not a reflection of our audience, and I feel good about the direction we’re moving,” she said.
Superhero movies have also gone diverse. Most of the upcoming Marvel movies will star non-whites and have POC in important supporting roles. The new Captain America, one of Marvel’s most popular characters, is black. The most famous superhero, Superman, will also be black in his next film. The script will be by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Now, all studio executives need is a black director. Having a white director would be “tone deaf.”
In a world of diversity uber alles, you have a choice: Pull the plug.