More than 60 protesters, chanting “Latinos excluded, time to be included,” picketed outside Paramount Pictures’ main gate today to call attention to the studio’s “dismal hiring record of Latino talent.” The protest was called by leaders of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the National Latino Media Council, and the National Latino Media Council, which announced a boycott of the studio last month.
NHMC says that its research has found that Paramount “has the worst numbers amongst all film studios when it comes to Latino representation in front and behind the camera. Out of the top 100 grossing films of both 2016 and 2017, Paramount Pictures produced 20 films. Of the 20 films, there were only seven Latino actors, one Latino director, and zero Latino writers.”
Organizers say that stereotypes and exclusion have contributed to the current atmosphere of scapegoating Hispanics.
“There is no question that longstanding exclusion of Latinos from movies has contributed to the current precarious situation for Latino civil rights,” said Thomas Saenz, chair of the National Latino Media Council. “Paramount Pictures’ refusal to partner in addressing their deplorable performance on Latino inclusion is utterly inexplicable.”
“Not a day goes by without an attack on our Latino community by the President and his minions,” said NHMC president and CEO Alex Nogales. “They don’t know us and see little, if anything, of us in film and television — film in. Particular. We’re absent, invisible, and because Trump talks about Latinos and immigrants in the worst of terms, branding us criminals, rapists, polluters of American culture — his supporters believe him and act on his words. Until Latinos are given the opportunity to tell our own stories, to write direct and act in all film, television and streaming media produced nun Hollywood, we will continue to be stereotyped, talked about and treated in the worst of ways as we are being treated presently.”
“All six studios are doing a terrible job,” Nogales said later over a bullhorn from the picket line, “but Paramount is the worst.” He also vowed to continue the boycott until the studio signed a memorandum of understanding.
Organizers say that Latinos make up 18% of the US population and 24% of movie audiences, but “remain the most underrepresented minority in Hollywood. How Latinos are perceived on screen greatly impacts the way they are treated. In the current political climate, it’s important for us to be seen and viewed in a positive manner.”
“Latinos, especially our children, need to see themselves in roles that aren’t just stereotypes but authentically share our stories,” said producer Marissa Herrera, a member of the NHMC Action Network. “We deserve a seat at the table and the time is now.”
Paramount declined comment, but when the boycott was announced last month, said that it had met recently with NHMC “in a good faith effort to see how we could partner as we further drive Paramount’s culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Under our new leadership team, we continue to make progress – including ensuring representation in front of and behind the camera in upcoming films such as Dora the Explorer, Instant Family, and Limited Partners – and welcome the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with the Latinx creative community further.”