Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has weighed in on the debate about racism in Hollywood, telling the BBC in an interview that it is “pretty undeniable” that the movie business discriminates against actors and actresses on the basis of skin color.
The 27-year-old actor, who plays an FBI agent undercover as a white supremacist in his latest film Imperium, told the BBC’s Victoria Derybshire show that Hollywood has a lot of work to do when compared with other industries.
“We like to think of ourselves as being a very, very progressive industry, but we have been lagging behind in all kinds of areas,” Radcliffe said.
“It’s pretty undeniable,” he added when asked outright if Hollywood is a “racist” industry.
Radcliffe also criticized Donald Trump in his interview, accusing the Republican presidential candidate of “stirring up” feelings of “fear and hatred.” The actor called Trump a “wealthy, privileged man (who) has somehow managed to convince people he’s not part of the elite and that’s he’s a man of the people.”
Radcliffe has become more politically outspoken in recent months. In a June interview, the actor tied Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union to the political ascendance of Trump in the United States.
“It’s the worst kind of nationalism, the worst kind of patriotism, and it’s scary as sh*t,” Radcliffe told Vulture.
The actor added that Trump’s rise could very well have an effect on politics in his native Britain.
“It worries me that — we don’t really have a version of Trump, but our very far right wing party, they obviously would never have incited somebody to that violence,” Radcliffe said then, referring to the murder of Jo Cox, a Labour Party politician who was killed just before the Brexit vote. “I’m not saying they did that because they didn’t. But equally, you spend that much time fearmongering about race and religion and that’s going to have an effect sometimes.”
Radcliffe is not alone in his belief that Hollywood could be more inclusive. Earlier this month, a report by the University of Southern California called the entertainment business “the epicenter of cultural inequality.” The report found that of the top-100 grossing films of 2015, 17 percent featured no black characters, 40 percent featured no Hispanic characters and 82 percent had no speaking roles for LGBT characters.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum