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How wokeness is killing Hollywood


How wokeness is killing Hollywood


The push for diversity and inclusivity in Hollywood is a hot topic, but the underlying concerns about its potentially negative impact on the entertainment industry often go unspoken, according to PETER KIEFER and PETER SAVODNIK.

Several years ago, The Hollywood Reporter’s editor-in-chief proposed an article discussing the unforeseen consequences of Hollywood’s diversity efforts after a conversation with a renowned agent.

The suggestion was met with mockery from younger reporters, and the editor-in-chief quickly retracted the idea, appearing shaken.

The proposed story wasn’t just about white men losing job opportunities, nor was it solely about the economic side of Hollywood.

Instead, it was about the narratives Hollywood produced and shared worldwide, reflecting the industry’s evolution and its connection to the American Dream.

After the meeting, another editor advised a reporter against pursuing the story to avoid potential career repercussions.

Hollywood’s focus on diversity and representation didn’t emerge suddenly.

The industry has a history of pushing boundaries, from addressing antisemitism in 1947’s “Gentleman’s Agreement” to exploring gay marriage in the original run of “Will and Grace” (1998-2006).

However, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2015 prompted industry leaders to reconsider their practices, which gained momentum with #MeToo in 2017 and the George Floyd protests in 2020.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences attempted to keep pace with societal changes, inviting a record number of members from diverse backgrounds.

In September 2020, the Academy introduced the Representation and Inclusion Standards Entry (RAISE) platform.

To be eligible for Best Picture, a film must meet two of the Academy’s four diversity standards.

In response, CBS mandated that writers’ rooms be at least 40% black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) for the 2021-2022 season and 50% for the 2022-2023 season.

ABC Entertainment issued a series of “inclusion standards,” which many studios have likely adopted.

Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Crew, a database of underrepresented professionals, aims to help producers meet these new standards.

Although ARRAY Crew has been praised for fundamentally changing Hollywood staffing, some privately express irritation, claiming DuVernay exploited the “post-George Floyd moment.”

Despite efforts to open the industry to previously excluded groups, concerns over a new form of exclusion are growing.

Over 25 liberal writers, directors, and producers interviewed reported widespread fear of violating the new doctrine, affecting every level of production.

Some industry professionals compare the current climate to the McCarthy era, with Hollywood aligning itself with popular beliefs rather than taking a moral stance.

This adaptability has made the entertainment industry vulnerable to culture war fluctuations.

Some white, male writers have claimed they’ve been denied jobs due to diversity quotas.

While acknowledging the potential truth in these situations, writer and producer Zack Stentz suggests it’s unhelpful for agents to share that information with clients.


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