Hollywood inequality is 'entrenched', study suggests

Inequality is "entrenched" in Hollywood, with women, minorities and LGBT people among those excluded, a new study has suggested.

The University of Southern California's report showed that women had just 31.4% of spoken roles in 2015's top 100 films, compared with 32.8% in 2008.

Lesbian, gay or transgender characters accounted for less than 1% of speaking parts - or 32 out of 35,205 characters.

Researchers described Hollywood as "an epicentre of cultural inequality".

They said little progress had been made in increasing diversity.

Between 2007, when the study was first carried out, and 2015, the authors said there has been no marked change in the proportion of black, Latino or Asian characters - at 12.2%, 5.3% and 3.9% respectively.

'Exclusionary forces' at work

Study author Stacy Smith, a professor at USC, said: "We're seeing entrenched inequality.

"Whether we're studying gender, race, ethnicity, LGBT or characters with disabilities, we're really seeing exclusionary forces leaving out anybody that's not a straight, white, able-bodied man.

"Despite all the chatter and all the activism and all the press attention, it's another year where the status quo has been maintained.''

The report also showed:

  • There were 2.2 men for every woman in a speaking role in the top 100 films of 2015
  • Just one character identifying as transgender was portrayed - there had been none in 2014
  • Out of 107 directors, four were black or African American and six were Asian or Asian American. Eight were women - the highest figure since 2008
  • The number of LGBT characters increased in 2015 - but only two were shown as parents
  • Women are more than three times as likely as men to be shown in sexually revealing clothing or nude - 30.2% to 7.7%
  • Characters with a disability made up 2.4% of all speaking roles, despite 18.7% of the US population reporting having a disability in the 2010 census

The new figures follow the #OscarsSoWhite controversy earlier this year, sparked by two years of all-white acting nominees at the Academy Awards, as well as concerns over the gender gap in pay and the lack of female directors.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, has expanded its membership in an attempt to improve diversity.

'The same groups get the most visible roles'

Smith said: "We've seen a lot of talk and little action. What we need now is for companies to take the same leadership position, be transparent in their inclusion goals and be accountable to representing the actual world we live in when it comes to the demography of the US."

The survey found that female lead or co-lead roles increased by 11% from 2014 to 2015 - but only three films cast such a role from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. There were no Asian male or female leads across all of the films studied.

"When we really drill down in the numbers, we see a perpetuation of the same groups getting access to the most visible roles, whether that's in the director's chair or on screen, and that continues to be the problem plaguing Hollywood's hiring practices," Smith said.

Several of 2015's most profitable films had diverse casts, however, including the seventh Fast and Furious film, Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

A number of remakes or reboots with women in lead roles have also been announced, including Ocean's Eight and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

  • Published in Culture

Giuliani: It’s Stupid to Believe Gun Control Will Stop Islamic Terrorists

SANTIAGO – Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said on Thursday that it made no sense to believe that greater restrictions on the sale of firearms in the United States could prevent mass shootings like the one that killed 49 people last weekend at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Giuliani made his remarks at a speech in the Chilean capital, where he presented his ideas on fighting crime and answered questions about the race to the White House, Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms and the massacre early Sunday at the Pulse nightclub.

The American politician said that gun control had nothing to do with terrorism and that neither U.S. President Barack Obama nor presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton should be taking the conversation in that direction.

He accused both politicians of being soft on terrorism and said that, although he does not always agree with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee’s economic and anti-terrorism proposals were superior to Clinton’s.

Giuliani, who was mayor of New York at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Obama should be ashamed that there have been four major attacks perpetuated by Muslim radicals in a year: Paris, San Bernardino, California, Brussels and Orlando.

The former mayor said Omar Mateen’s attack inside the Pulse club, where 53 people were also wounded, was “an act of war.”

Regarding Chile, Giuliani recommended a number of measures to significantly reduce crime rates, including the need for coordination between the police that patrol the streets and those responsible for investigating crimes.

Giuliani also proposed an increase in the use of surveillance cameras, DNA analysis of suspects and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders.

  • Published in World

Colombia: Murders of Human Rights Activists Continue, Report

A new study is calling upon the Colombian government to defend the rights of the “ignored ones” of society, who are often viewed as just nameless statistics.

Crimes perpetrated against human rights activists have not stopped despite the peace talks started over two years ago to end a conflict that lasted over half a century, according to an investigation reported by press agency EFE on Sunday.     

During the first semester of 2015, already 34 activists have been killed – 30 men and four women. Nine of the victims were indigenous people, four were from the LGBT and intersex communities, two were journalists, and three farmers. These groups along with other mining or student union leaders were targeted said the report by non-profit organization Somos Defensores, which will be released on Tuesday.       

This latest figure represents a 15 percent increase compared to the 30 activists killed during the first semester of 2014.                

Most of the murders were committed in the southern regions of Caqueta and Valle del Cauca.      

“We will continue to repeat that in such an important and historical political context, where priority is to find peace, social and human rights activists and leaders in these territories are still not valued in a way they should be for the construction of a real democracy,” states the authors of the report.

The report, entitled “The Nobodies,” is named after a poem by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, which speaks of “ignored ones” of society, the people “who do not have names, but numbers (...) that cost less than the bullet that kills."

According to the study, this attitude towards the victims’ deaths is reflected by the Colombian government, its judicial authorities, and “the indifferent country that does not flinch at the perverse daily sacrifice of these men and women."

28 out of the 34 murders have still not found a perpetrator, the report says. For the six other murder cases, two were attributed to the army, two to paramilitary groups, one to a police unit, and one to the Army of National Liberation guerrilla group, also known as ELN.

The report added that out of the 219 homicides of human rights activists committed between January 2009 and June 2013, “95 percent of the cases never passes the preliminary investigation... while only one case resulted in a firm sentence against the criminals.”

"A community without leadership has no horizon and a Colombia without organized communities will not build and sustain peace," the authors of the study said.

The group urged the government to stop treating social movement activists "like 'The Nobodies' of region, not caring whether they are dead or alive.”

  • Published in World
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