PASADENA, CA – The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) today has lambasted both the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s recent study, “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair”, for excluding Latinos as part of its research and findings, as well as Los Angeles Times reporter Jen Yamato for failing to follow up with the study’s researchers as to why Latinos were not included.
The USC report tracked race, gender and age among 100 directors in the top 100 performing films in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and while it showed significant gains in the hiring practices of black directors in Hollywood, it failed to acknowledge Latinos in any significant way.
“Although other comprehensive research studies have been done in recent years on the lack of Latinos in Hollywood, this USC report, which excluded Latinos in its research, sends the message and perception that Latinos are once again non-existent,” said Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “This is important to note because how one is seen is how one is treated, and if we are ignored, then our voices are not heard and the opportunities to be part of this industry becomes more sparse.”
Latinos comprise more than 18% of the U.S. population, are worth approximately $1.5 trillion dollars in purchasing power, and are the biggest moviegoers in the country, buying 24% of all tickets sold at the box office, which allows Hollywood to achieve its significant profit margin.
“At the same time, news reporting is becoming more and more of a white and black media world, and journalists are aiding that characterization by not acknowledging Latinos being left out of the discussion,” continued Nogales. “Jen Yamato, the Los Angeles Times reporter, who wrote the front-page January 5th story about the study, was not only supposed to report the news, but also question the news. She failed in asking where the Latinos were in this study, and therefore did a disservice to our community.”
“Inexplicably omitting the nation’s largest minority group from this report is the exact opposite of inclusion. It is academic apartheid that should have no place at any reputable scholarly institution, particularly in the very Latino city of Los Angeles,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “The L.A. Times and the so-called Annenberg Inclusion Initiative are complicit in suppressing the extreme and unacceptable exclusion of Latinos in the entertainment industry, and in serving a naked Trumpian agenda.”
“The elephant in the Hollywood diversity room is the continued lack of reporting on the almost total exclusion of American Latinos in front, in the back or anywhere near the camera,” remarked Moctesuma Esparza, president of Maya Cinemas and award-winning, veteran film producer.
Angie Medina, chair of the Whittier Latino Coalition, said to L.A. Times’ Yamato, “Although you reference all ethnic groups, women, LGBTQ and disabled, you completely leave out Latinos with the exception of one minor reference. If you’re writing an article about exclusion in film, it doesn’t do justice to the issue if Latinos are excluded from it. Also, there are many Latino experts in this field who could have been quoted in your article. I demand when writing about lack of diversity in the future you include Latinos.”
To prevent this from happening in the future, the NHMC will be calling the editors of the Los Angeles Times, as well as Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, to discuss this exclusion, and how to prevent such errors in the future.