Latinos are sorely underrepresented in film



Welcome to the frame. I'm John Horn. Latinos have been underrepresented in Hollywood for a long time both in front of and behind the camera last week a delegation from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus came to La to discuss the issue with Industry Leaders Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio is Chairman of the Group and he says the Hispanic Caucus has a couple of concerns about representation. We worked in in Los Angeles on two issues in particular the gross underrepresentation of Latinos in the entertainment industry and the second getting is portrayal of Latinos in television and film for example. This latest Annenberg report found that of the lead characters on film. Twenty eight percent played criminals which is obviously for any American community or segment of society Misrepresentation and so we had meetings with six or seven studios and executives from those studios. We met with a few of the Gills. The street actors Guild Sag after and the directors guild and and we had a chance to meet with about forty Latino actors actresses producers directors and others about the Hollywood ecosystem Oh system and the challenges that they face hitting work in that system. It's not just the kinds of parts. That Latinos are getting. It's the number of parts Latino. Oh actors barely got four and a half percent of the more than forty seven thousand speaking roles in the top one hundred grossing movies from each though past twelve years and Latinos make up a huge percentage of the US population but also the movie going public. It's almost a quarter of all. Ticket buyers are Latinos. So was there any explanation explanation about that. Disconnect yeah I mean we had pleasant meetings with everyone And you know and everybody talked about. The things are doing to try to do better better. I can't say that there was a satisfactory answer to that. Issue up they did talk about their different pipelines for writing for directing. You know this and that that they're working on. But as I said to those folks in the meetings look if you're at three percents now of Latinos in front of the camera behind the camera then. Whatever you've been doing doing in the past obviously has not worked? So what are you doing right now. And what do you plan to do to improve those numbers And it's very strange that an industry like Hollywood this considered liberal and progressive. Then he would have worse numbers than the fossil fuel industry the oil and gas industry in my home state of Texas Texas. The numbers obviously don't lie the representation of Latinos along with a lot of underrepresented groups in Hollywood is terrible. Why is it important that that it changed? And why is it important to you personally. Well there is a cost to that underrepresentation in C. Suites In terms of casting directors producers etc and part of that cost is a misprint trail of Latinos. I think get no. We not only affects how the how people see themselves but also how. The larger American public sees a Latino community. So when a president or we're politician or anyone else gets up and says that Latinos are criminals and rapists murderers and people turn on their television set and they go to a movie movie and that's exactly what they see then. It affirms that idea for them that the person who's speaking is right and taken to its extreme. It leads to what you've gotTa Know Paso Texas a few months ago which is a madman driving Ted Hours to kill twenty one people. Because he sees Hispanics as invaders to the United States never mind that Latinos have been here for generations. So Hollywood has to take a really deep and close look in the mirror and start to change and change -serily not just by lip service but actually changed. And how do you think that will come about because we've had study after study leave for the last decade that's pointed out these numbers and it doesn't seem like the needle is moving. Do you see any hope for optimism. You you know I. I was Optimistic after it was conversations in terms of Congress's involvement in Congress does have jurisdiction over tax incentives. That provided to the film industry. Just like different state. Legislatures have jurisdiction over tax incentives. That are offered in different places where movies and television television productions are set. But I I'll tell you I did tell some of the folks in these meetings that for us for those of us that were on that trip for the Congressional National Hispanic Caucus and I think for I would dare say for many other members of Congress we have is a mark Zuckerberg level problem here in terms of Hollywood. We have have a problem where an industry is acting incredibly irresponsibly and doesn't seem to be doing very much to change it so the idea that you would bring executives from from Hollywood in front of Congress. The Judiciary Committee is the committee that has jurisdiction basically over Hollywood. That idea I think is something that we should consider consider. Let's assume that these Hollywood executives who aren't really doing what maybe there should be doing. Were to testify in front of Congress. What would you ask them? Congress has brought different industries In front of it to question them on their practices in terms of hiring and diversity and what commit. But they're making do those things and so I ask him questions about the processes they put in place. I mean. Look when you're in a city that is forty percent. Latino in a state is forty percent Latino country that's eighteen percent Movie ticket buyers. That are twenty three percent over indexed on movie ticket sales and this group of people only has about three percent of the rolls when you combine in front of and behind the camera you get to a point where you have to admit that that's systemic exclusion of a group of people and when we have systemic problems not just individual problems or one person here there air when you have problems. Those are the kinds of things that Congress and legislatures should get involved with Joaquin. Castro represents San Antonio in the US House of Representatives. He also chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Congressman. Thank you so much for coming on the show

Coming up next