US Minority Actors Continue Losing Share Of Hollywood Acting Roles

English.eastday.com (Shanghai), Oct. 9

Minority actors, led by Asians and Latino males, saw their share of US television and film roles continue to decline last year, the Hollywood Reporter reported Friday.

Quoting statistics released by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the magazine said much of the loss was concentrated among lead roles for Asians and Latino male lead roles in primetime, which dropped 35 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

Asian/Pacific Islanders got 2.5 percent of all TV and theatrical roles, while they represent 3.8 percent of the population. The most affected area was male Asian leads, which fell from 104 in 2002 to 61 last year.

The roles going to black actors fell 3 percent last year. That left them with a 15.3 percent share of all TV and film roles while representing 12.8 percent of the US population. Lead roles increased to 64 male leads and 14 female leads, while total film roles fell 23 percent over the previous year primarily because of fewer males in lead roles.

Roles for Latinos fell 10.5 percent last year, leaving them with a 5.4 percent share of overall roles compared with a 13.7 percent share of the US population. The 31 percent decline in Latino male leads was concentrated in episodic TV. At the same time, there was a 2.4 percent increase in supporting roles for Latinos.

SAG said that women also remain significantly under-represented in film and TV roles. Women got 38 percent of total roles cast last year, a figure that has remained steady for the past several years.

In contrast, Native Americans were the only minority group to make gains, landing 128 roles last year for a 40.7 percent increase over the previous year. For the second straight year, white actors continued to account for 73.5 percent of film and TV roles.

“This data ought to be a wake-up call to the industry,” SAG president Melissa Gilbert said. “There is still significant work left to do to increase the opportunities for many groups.”

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