One Latino actor/producer didn’t mince words about his reaction to a study detailing how Hollywood neglects his fellow Latinos.
“I didn’t realize we were doing so poorly,” actor, writer, and producer Rick Najera told NBC News. “But you have to remember, most people in Hollywood only interact with Latinos in subservient positions. They think we are all maids, gardeners, and nannies. They don’t know Latinos who are professionals.”
The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism released a report earlier this month that, yet again, proves Latinos are the most “underrepresented” group in Hollywood films–with a mere five percent who spoke on camera in 2013.
Researchers analyzed about 4,000 principal characters from 100 of the top-grossing films of 2013. They learned that only 25.9 percent of those individuals came from minority backgrounds. Furthermore, 4.9 percent were Hispanic.
“Look at Argo, the main character was Tony Mendez, a Latino from Colorado… and the part goes to Ben Affleck,” Najera continued.
Bear in mind that Hispanics account for an estimated 16.3 percent of the population, according to the 2010 census, and 25 percent of those individuals spend more time and money at the box office than any other ethnic group.
The study showed that Latinas are notorious for their “sex symbol” appearance and were 37.5 percent more likely to appear fully or partially naked on screen. USC said Hispanic males were sexualized too, with 16.5 percent showcased in tight and revealing clothing.
We are not being cast by us, we are not being produced by us, we are not being written by us,” actress Elaine Del Valle told NBC News. “So the only thing that people do with us is based on stereotypes.
UCLA scholars further investigated and added high profile talent agents, AKA “industry gatekeepers,” to their research. Their inability to maintain a diverse talent roster apparently adds to the misrepresentation of Latinos in film and television. These studies suggest Hollywood culture doesn’t embrace racial diversity, in comparison to the rest of the country.
The president of the National Media Hispanic Coalition, Alex Nogales, was not at all shocked by the information that USC presented.
“We already knew the results, we go to the movies, we see who is working and who is not,” he said.