Kathleen Kennedy Founded Study Reveals Racial Bias Gap

(Left to right: Anita F. Hill, Kathleen Kennedy, and Nina Shaw)

Not everything is as peaceful in Hollywood as one would like to believe. People have come to know of some of the things that happen behind the scenes. In response to some of these occurrences, the Hollywood Commission was put together. The origins of the Hollywood Commission go back to October 2017, around the time of the Me Too Movement. Lots of people in the film industry and beyond were coming forward about sexual misconduct and how they were affected by such circumstances. With the intention of protecting against sexual abuse and harassment, producer Kathleen Kennedy called for the commission to be formed. The full name, which was decided in December of that year when 26 people in the industry got together, was the Hollywood Commission to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Advance Equality in the Workplace. Accompanying Kennedy in Hollywood Commission leadership are Anita F. Hill, Nina Shaw, Freada Kapor Klein, and Malia Arrington.

On Wednesday, October 7, a report by the Hollywood Commission revealed a wide margin between what the entertainment industry claims to have done to be a lot more diverse and inclusive, and what has actually been achieved so far. According to the survey, women were twice as likely as men to say that they have endured unfair behavior or bias. The commission acquired quotes, a couple of which are included below and left anonymous:

"People hire who they've worked with before and don't often give a chance or reach out to give a leg up to diverse people or new people."

"Hollywood has an insidious problem with both sexual harassment and discrimination. Racial discrimination and racist behaviors and beliefs are ingrained in the business, from casting on down. Most white writers will never identify race in scripts, save for non-white characters. The assumption becomes every character is white unless otherwise noted."

Brandeis University professor Anita Hill had the following to say:
"The entertainment industry has the unique potential to tell the stories of today’s richly diverse world. But to get there, the barriers to underrepresented people being valued and in ‘the room where it happens’ must be eliminated. And once they do get into ‘the room where it happens,’ they must not be the only one."
According to the report, 75% of the surveyed men claimed that there has been progress in bringing more diversity to the entertainment workplace. This view was shared by 63% of women who responded. The report adds:
"White men have the most positive view of progress in diversity (78 percent), followed by Black or African African men (67 percent)."
Out of the women who answered to this question of progress in representation in the industry, however, the percentages of each group who believed that progress had been made actually varied, as seen below.

Biracial Women - 50%
Black or African American Women - 47%
White Women - 66%

Noticeably, the percentage for white women is higher, with the percentages for the other two groups being about or almost an even split. Furthermore, 30% of bi- or multiracial women and an estimated 22% of Black women provided responses conveying that they had been denied opportunities in the workplace that were given to others who were in similar circumstances.

The commission report ended with a call to action, saying that organizations should expand their measures in order to increase inclusion and diversity, and that they should be held accountable in making those changes. The commission is trying bystander training with 450 entertainment workers to acknowledge and intervene when bias and harassment happen on the job, and to end a culture of silence on such occurrences.

Source(s): Hollywood CommissionThe Hollywood Reporter