Thursday, December 18, 2008

NAACP report shows television industry still falls seriously short in achieving diversity

The NAACP Hollywood Bureau today announced its latest findings in a new report titled "Out of Focus, Out of Sync—Take 4" that shows the entertainment industry, particularly television, continues to fall seriously short in achieving diversity.

NAACP officials warned that without quick action to reverse the bleak statistics cited in the 44-page report, the industry could face political action.

"At a time when the country is excited about the election of the first African American president in U.S. history, it is unthinkable that minorities would be so grossly under-represented on broadcast television," said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

"Perpetrating the situation is the fact that the few African Americans in higher positions in that industry lack power to green light new series' or make final creative decisions, which has translated into a critical lack of primetime programming by, for or about people of color," said NAACP Hollywood Bureau Executive Director Vicangelo Bulluck.

The "Take 4" report cites statistics that show an ongoing trend where African Americans and other minorities continue to be under-represented in nearly every aspect of television and film businesses, while largely being denied access to significant positions of power in Hollywood.

Specifically, the report reveals that hiring, promotion and acting opportunities for minorities are directly tied to highly subjective practices, a closed roster system and potentially discriminatory membership guild requirements. The serious shortage of minority faces on primetime television can also be traced to the virtual disappearance of black programming since the merger of UPN and WB networks into The CW network, according to the report.

To help remedy the situation, the report recommends the establishment of a task force comprised of network executives, educators and NAACP coalition partners to update a Memorandum of Understanding between parties and create best practice standards throughout the industry.

"The NAACP has a long history of working in partnership with the networks, studios, guilds, agencies and others to create substantive opportunities for people of color in front of and behind the camera," Bulluck added.

To download a copy of the report, Click HERE.

The NAACP's Hollywood Bureau opened in 2002 and focuses its efforts on holding the networks and studios accountable for advancing diversity on screen and behind the scenes.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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