More than 60 protesters chanting “Latinos excluded, time to be included” picketed Paramount Pictures again today, armed with a petition signed by more than 12,000 supporters calling on the Hollywood studio to sign a memorandum of understanding to increase its employment of Hispanics.
“We’re going to keep this up until Paramount decides to work with us and sign a memorandum of agreement to increase opportunities for Latinos in front of and behind the cameras,” said Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “We’re going to be a pest and an annoyance, and we will effect their bottom line. Twenty-five organizations have joined us, and the next demonstration will be even bigger and will be staged in several cities.”
Organizers say Paramount “is the worst studio in town in hiring Latino actors, writers and directors.” They’d hoped to hand-deliver their petition to Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos, but he’s traveling, so they turned it over to a studio rep.
It’s the second such protest in two months; a similar protest was held August 25 in front of Paramount’s main gate. Like the last one, today’s demonstration was organized by the NHMC and the National Latino Media Council, which also have also called for a boycott of the studio’s films.
NHMC says its research shows that Paramount “has the worst numbers amongst the major six film studios when it comes to Latino representation in front and behind the camera. According to the research, out of the top 100 grossing films of 2016, Paramount Pictures produced 12 films. None of the 12 films featured any Latino directors, writers, or a lead Latino actor. NHMC also looked at the top 100 grossing films of 2017, of which Paramount Pictures produced eight films. None of the eight films featured any Latino writers or a lead actor.”
Paramount declined comment Wednesday but pointed to an earlier statement issued after the boycott was announced in July, which said the studio had met 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.”
Other leaders of today’s protest include former L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina; Thomas A. Saenz, chair of the NLMC and president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and actress Franceli Chapman-Varela.