The #OscarsSoWhite struggle to diversify Hollywood is lagging behind when it comes to Latinos and other communities of color…”Alex Nogales, President/CEO, NHMC
Pasadena, CA — Prior to this year’s Oscars Awards presentation, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and its Action Network held two demonstrations protesting the lack of inclusion of Latinos in front of the camera in film. They made it clear that they were not protesting the Academy of Motion Pictures, rather the studio executives who have the power to greenlight their studio’s films.
The response from the studios has been lukewarm, according to a member of the Action Network. It was with this in mind that Alex Nogales, president and CEO of NHMC issue the following statement:
“As many of you know, NHMC and its Action Network are protesting the exclusion of Latinos in film both in front and back of camera. The Latino community is now 18% of the nation’s population and represents 1.5 trillion in purchasing power, and 24% of all ticket sales at the box office. Yet, Latinos only had 3.1% of the speaking roles in films produced by Hollywood’s top studios in 2016. The number of Latinos in back of camera were equally dismal and both numbers have barely budged during the last ten years.
Let me be very clear, our fight is not against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that presents the Oscars. It is against the six Hollywood studios – Paramount, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, Disney, and 20th Century Fox – whose top executives neither greenlight films with American Latino themes nor hire American Latinos in prominent positions in front and back of the camera.
We have attempted to meet and work with the film executives at those studios during the past six years. Only one studio responded. That is unacceptable. If the remaining studios and their executives remain silent, NHMC and its Action Network will, on March 24th, publicly target those executives by name and launch a nationwide boycott against the worst studio and their films.
This year, another Mexican director won the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars. This brings the Oscar count up to three Mexican directors who have won Oscars during the last five years. We are very proud of them and their brilliant films, but they are also not hiring American Latino actors nor behind the camera, American Latino professionals, not even mentoring them. All three directors are a disappointment to our community, especially to me since I am Mexican-American. Be it as it may, the primary culprits in the exclusion of American Latinos are the film executives at the six studios and it is at them that our protest and demonstrations are aimed.
#OscarsSoWhite rightly casts a harsh light on Hollywood’s hiring practices. That campaign increased African American participation in an industry that is predominantly white. We commend and fully support that progress. But the #OscarsSoWhite struggle to diversify Hollywood is lagging behind when it comes to Latinos and other communities of color, and NHMC has no choice but to continue #OscarsSoWhite until the film industry reflects Latinos and all other diverse communities that make up today’s America.”
To some Latinos in the industry, the calling out of the Oscar-winning Mexican directors, namely Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant), and Guillermo Del Toro (Shape of Water), is divisive and seen as the “crabs in the barrel” syndrome, with some trying to pull one down when it is rising. We asked Nogales about this perception.
“Of course there’s going to be people that make this point,” he explained. “But the truth is the truth. These guys are not hiring American Latinos.” And he added profusely, “We are being locked out.. it doesn’t matter who is doing it.”
The NHMC, founded over 30 years ago, remains the only fully immersed media watchdog for the Latino community in Hollywood. They work towards ensuring that Latinos are fairly and consistently represented in news and entertainment and have a presence on the internet.
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