A little change of programming here today.
The turmoil of recent events, and writing last week's issue about Hollywood's continuing abject failures on diversity, raised a question in my mind.
I know what the output from the studio world looks like, but I wondered just how bad is the representation in the ranks for Black execs. I assumed the answer was . . . abysmal, but maybe slightly improving? But I'd never seen a systematic look at the question.
Fortunately, thanks to corporate "About Us" pages, looking at the leadership of the studios and their corporate parents was just a few Google searches away.
The results, as they say, were shocking.
I was prepared for abysmal, but that turned out to be fairly optimistic.
I won't build this up anymore, and will present without any more commentary, my photo tour through the Leadership/Management pages of the major studios and those of their corporate parents that I dove into, as noted, with the question: How many Black executives are there in the leadership ranks in Hollywood?
Just a few caveats:
• Where possible, I used the companies' own "About Us" pages, which is *their* definition of who is leadership and who isn't.
• In the places where they didn't have a page for the film division in particular, I had to jerry-rig one myself, based on my own general sense of who are the top execs—and also, where I could find pictures.
• In some places, particularly the streamers, this was a little tough. The streamers tend not to have accessible org charts below the corporate ranks and untangling the overlapping arms and trying to sort out who is "leadership" is nearly impossible. As is finding photos.
• Some of these pages may also be slightly out of date.
• I'm not sure if people will be angrier for being left out or for being included, but this is not meant to be a definitive list of who is running Hollywood, just a glance at many to most of the faces in the driver's seat.
I'll also say, on most of your email programs, this gallery gets cut off in the middle. You can click on the link at the bottom of your email or go to theankler.com to see the post in full.
All that said, behold, the leadership of Hollywood 2020. You go right ahead and be the judge. Let me know what you think.
The Content Team
And What Of the Agencies…?
A few takeaways, which I'll keep brief because better you draw your own conclusions:
• Obviously, we could continue down this road with the mini-majors, writers rooms, PR firms, SFX houses, awards-bestowing bodies, TV networks, casting agencies, management companies, law firms and even the trade press newsrooms.
• My assumption is that the situation at any of the above would be "very bad" but after going through the studios, I'm prepared for it to be much worse than that.
• I was looking through these rosters to answer a very particular question. Anyone can look through this gallery through any other lens they would like – gender, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic background - and on some of those, some places will look much better than they do on this question. So take that as you will.
• If we were to look below the top rungs, results may vary as well, though probably not as much as you'd like to think.
• As bad as this looks, if you want to take these results and ask "How many Black execs above are part of the green lighting process at studios?" then it's almost unbelievable.
• Just to repeat my general comment from the previous issue about why this matters to the world beyond our gates:
This is reprehensible and absurd that this is where we still are, both as employers and as purveyors of culture. Hollywood productions may not be polluting the culture the way, say, Trump's Tweets do. But the idealized world we depict remains, to too great an extent, a universe of white stories told by white artists. That certainly doesn't help push the idea that there might be other ways to see the world beyond the white perspective. It certainly doesn't get the world in the habit of doing so.
Which is not just morally wrong, but for an industry that needs any new audience it can get its hands on, it’s a stupid place to be doing business from.
Love to hear your thoughts or experience on this. Leave your comments below, or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care everyone. See you next week.
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