The film industry did slightly better in its depiction of LBGT characters and issues last year than the year before, but it’s still way behind TV, according to GLAAD’s third annual Studio Responsibility Index. The LGBT media watchdog group released its annual report card today, and it gave Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Studios a “failing” grade.
“As television and streaming services continue to produce a remarkable breadth of diverse LGBT representations, we still struggle to find depictions anywhere near as authentic or meaningful in mainstream Hollywood film,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The industry continues to look increasingly out of touch by comparison and still doesn’t represent the full diversity of the American cultural fabric.”
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Only Warner Bros received a “good” rating from GLAAD for 2014 – this despite the fact that the group found the release Get Hard, which it called a “gay-panic exploiting comedy,” to be “one of the most problematic films we have seen in some time.” Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment and Universal Pictures all were deemed “adequate.”
GLAAD found that of the 114 films released by the major studios last year, 20 included characters identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual and that “there were zero depictions of transgender people in 2014, despite a historic year for transgender representation on television.” GLAAD said it also found “fewer overtly defamatory depictions in mainstream film” last year than the year before, “though offensive representations were by no means absent and were found in films such as Exodus: Gods And Kings and Horrible Bosses 2.”
“The most inclusive major studio tracked this year was Warner Bros, as seven of 22 films it released in 2014 (32%) were LGBT-inclusive,” GLAAD said in its report. “Paramount came next with three of 13 films (23%), followed by Universal with three of 14 films (21%), and Fox with three of 17 films (18%). Two of Lionsgate’s 17 films were inclusive (12%), while Disney and Sony were last with one of 13 (8%) and one of 18 films (6%), respectively.”
Of the 20 major films released last year that included an identifiable LGBT character, GLAAD said that only 11 passed its test for authenticity and positive character portrayal. Even so, that was an improvement from the previous two years; only seven of 17 passed the test in 2013 and six out of 14 passed in 2012. “The numbers have improved somewhat in this regard,” GLAAD said, “and we hope they continue to do so.”
The group also found that the majority of the LGBT depictions in Hollywood film last year were minor characters or cameos, with less than five minutes of screen time.
“Hollywood must recognize that LGBT people are worthy of depictions crafted with care and humanity, and we should be part of the stories they tell,” Ellis said. “Doing so won’t simply demonstrate respect for a long-standing part of their audience, but it will align Hollywood film with other media in telling more authentic stories that represent the full diversity of our society and encourage greater understanding Only then will we be able to say that America’s film industry is a full partner in accelerating acceptance.”
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