Gay advocacy group GLAAD slapped Hollywood with a failing grade on its annual report card for the lack of roles for gays and a dearth of gay storylines in films for 2017.
Even as James Ivory won Best Screenplay last year for the gay-themed Call Me by Your Name, GLAAD complained that last year Hollywood actually had fewer gay characters and themes in its movies, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In its survey of 109 films, GLAAD said, “gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer characters appeared in only 14 films — just 12.8 percent of the total releases, a dramatic drop from the 18.4 percent of the studio features that were judged to be inclusive in 2016.” The figure was the lowest percentage since 2012, GLAAD insisted.
The yearly scorecard also comes with a goal. GLAAD claims that by 2021 it hopes to see 20 percent of major Hollywood studio releases include gay characters and by 2024 it wants 50 percent of films to feature LGBTQ characters and storylines.
GLAAD did note that one metric rose, THR notes:
The only positive development was that with characters such as Betty Gabriel’s Georgina, who appears to have a lesbian past in Get Out, diversity increased, with people of color representing 16 of the 28 characters identified in 2017’s studio films. They represented 57 percent of the total characters, as opposed to 2016, when people of color comprised just 20 percent of LGBTQ characters.
But the report insisted that no studio deserved an “excellent” or even a “good” ranking. Fox was rated “insufficient,” while GLAAD slapped Disney, Paramount, and Sony with a “poor” rating. Worse, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. each got a “failing” grade.
One film, in particular, was criticized. Warner Bros.’ CHiPs comedy was slammed for jokes that “reinforce outdated ideals of masculinity and project the false idea that in order to appeal to one demographic, the film must insult another audience.”
GLAAD went on to claim that 20 percent of Americans 18 to 34 years old and 12 percent of those 35–51 claim the LGBTQ label. With that, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis insisted that “If Hollywood wants to remain relevant with these audiences and keep them buying tickets, they must create stories are reflective of the world LGBTQ people and our friends and family know.”
However, GLAAD’s numbers are disputable. According to a recent poll, only 4 percent of America claims to be gay, according to Gallup.
Finally, it was telling that GLAAD did not include some of the specialty label films produced by the major studios the group attacked. Once the small film labels are included the representation of gays in Hollywood productions rises exponentially.
Of the 40 films released by smaller studios in 2017, “11, or 28 percent, contained an LGBTQ character, up from 17 percent in 2016,” THR noted.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.