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Disney and Diversity: Women and Black Americans Not Making Director's Chair

02/02/2017

Disney is the worst performing of the “big seven” Hollywood studios when it comes to hiring black directors, according to a new report.

USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative collected data from the top 100 films at the box office every year for the last decade, and found that 5.1% of directors were black – and none of their films were made or distributed by Disney.

The figures were just as dispiriting when it came to gender: only 4% of the top 100 films were directed by women, with the worst years being 2013 and 2014. The study found that there was a male-female director ratio of 16:1 over the 10-year time period. Only three of the 612 directors were black women: Ava DuVernay, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sanaa Hamri.

While Disney failed to promote black film directors (and hired five for its 101 entries in the 1,000-film sample), Lionsgate had the best record for employing African American film-makers – principally through its association with Tyler Perry, with whom it has released a string of successful films, mostly centring Perry’s cross-dressing comedy character Madea. Warner Bros tops the list of female director hires, with 10.

In a statement, the report’s lead author, Stacy Smith said: “Our research consistently shows that behind the camera, directing is predominantly an occupation held by white males. When the lens is this skewed, it offers a tilted view of society to audiences – one that lacks the perspective of women and people of colour.”

Guardian UK 2/2

   


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