The streaming giant Netflix says that it needs more Latin programming after launching an internal diversity audit conducted last year by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, an entertainment industry diversity think tank, according to a report by CNN Business.
On Friday, researchers revealed that only 4.5 percent of main roles went to Latin actors and filmmakers during a two-year span, despite Latinos making up roughly 18 percent of the U.S. population.
Meanwhile, the percentage of main cast members on Netflix who were black reached 22.7 percent in 2019, which was up from 16.2 percent in 2018, while roughly 13 percent of the U.S. is black. As for Asian main cast members — who make up roughly 6 percent of the U.S. population — that number was at about 7 percent in 2018 and 2019.
Meanwhile, women of all races — who make up roughly 51 percent of the U.S. population — had 52 percent of leads and co-leads in Netflix original films and series over the two-year span.
“The industry is at the floor on Latinx representation,” said lead author Stacy Smith to CNN Business. “We’re hoping numbers like this will help to really ignite a movement in the community.” Netflix said that it now needs to green light more original Latin content. The report added that the studio recently tapped Jennifer Lopez to play an assassin in a new film called The Mother.
“It should be companies like ours and other studios helping in that space,” said Netflix Vice President of Global Film Scott Stuber of recruiting Latin-American talent. “It’s important for us to reach out to the people in that community to tell stories, but also to help build bridges. It’s something we’re working hard on as a company.”
Hollywood studio executive Jaime Davila added that “there aren’t a lot of Latino producers and gatekeepers at these networks.”
“There’s incredible stories that can come out of our community,” Davila added. “I’m not doing something that’s crazy or secret. I’m just covering the world.”