The issues of diversity, or lack thereof, in Hollywood include gender, ethnicity, aging and sexuality - on film, television and digital outlets - are increasingly apparent and over the past several months, the conversation around these topics has intensified. This has led to an announcement today that Variety Magazine will begin a dialogue by engaging some of the most senior corporate executives and talent in the creative community in an upcoming conference on diversity called "Inclusion."
According to a 2016 report from The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, minorities remain underrepresented in Hollywood on every front (nearly 3 to 1 among film leads and directors). In addition, the study shows that US consumers crave diverse film and television content. In fact, "films with relatively diverse casts enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts, and [in television] social media engagement peaked for broadcast scripted shows with casts that were greater than 30 per cent minority," the report notes.
"Age discrimination is an incredibly important issue, not just to AARP's 38 million members nationwide, but across all facets of society," said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, an event sponsor. "We hope the dialogue at the Variety conference will lead not only to greater awareness of the issue, but to more and better opportunities for talented actors, producers, directors and others in the creative community – whatever their age."
In addition to a host of panels on topics ranging from LBGTQ rights to advancing Latino entertainment to the cultural importance of creating programs designed to support underrepresented groups in Hollywood, there will also be keynote speakers including Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Studios.
"There is no issue in Hollywood today more important and relevant than diversity and inclusion," said Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, group publisher of Variety. "It is Variety's privilege and responsibility to lead an industry wide dialogue and bring the decision-makers of our community together to promote solutions to counter the lack of minority talent in film and television. This is an issue that transcends the entertainment business, and we are excited to play a role in the broader conversation."
Variety's conference will be held on November 1, 2016 at The Montage in Beverly Hills.