‘West Side Story’ Actress Rita Moreno: Hollywood Racism ‘Still the Same Damn Problem’ as When I Started

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Amy Sussman/Getty Images for AFI, United Artists/Getty

Actress Rita Moreno says that racism in Hollywood — particularly against the Latino community — is “still the same damn problem” it was when she was starting out seven decades ago.

“I’m pained to say it’s still the same problem, the same damn problem,” the 89-year-old actress, known for her Oscar-winning role in 1961’s West Side Story, said in an interview with TheWrap. The outlet had asked if she believes the lack of opportunity for Latino actors is different today compared to what she experienced early on.

“It’s amazing. So far we are the community that still doesn’t have their wonderful big movies. Where is our Moonlight?” she continued, referring to Barry Jenkins’ 2016 indie film about a young black man that won a Best Picture Oscar.

“Where is any number of movies that the black community has? Why is this not happening for us? It’s disgraceful. It’s so discouraging. I don’t know what the hell is going on,” Moreno said.

Moreno is promoting a new documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, that follows the Puerto Rican-American actress throughout her seven-decade career in show business — from her humble beginnings as a teenager, to breaking barriers as a woman of color in Hollywood, according to IndieWire.

“It seems to me if you’re going to do something like this, I made a promise that to the best of my ability I’d be as truthful as I could be,” Moreno said of the project. “And I think I did pretty good.”

Moreno is one of very few performers who can boast of an “EGOT” awards sweep: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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