TV Is Running Out Of Roles For White People, Deadline Reports
Are TV shows running out of roles for white people? That's the question posited by a hilariously tone-deaf article about the rise in diversity on TV.On Tuesday evening Deadline unleashed the story, headlined "The Year Of Ethnic Castings - About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?," where it at first says the change was "welcomed" by people in the industry, but then passively suggests "the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction."
"Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal," the article continues. It goes on to list a number of anecdotal cases where TV shows were cast with "ethnic" actors, never mind the fact that many of them were already stars in their own right. Paula Patton, Jennifer Lopez, and John Leguizamo: apparently hired to fill some quota.
The Deadline piece is irritatingly wishy-washy in its rhetoric, praising the recent success of shows with diverse talent—including Empire, Jane The Virgin, and Fresh Off The Boat—and then saying this is all a problem in the very next sentence. "Replacing one set of rigid rules with another by imposing a quota of ethnic talent on each show might not be the answer," the author writes.
As awful, just awful, it might be for all the white actors this trend might be, a recent study shows that diversifying the entertainment business and its output is a good thing for everyone.
In fairness to an otherwise laughably insensitive article, a lot of it is echoing and quoting unnamed sources within an industry that isn't exactly known for its tact. The term "ethnic" or "ethnicities" is used 20 times throughout the piece, which it justifies (I guess) by saying off the bat that it's the lingo in the biz. But the rhetorical question in the headline is very much the core of the article, and the voice of the author.
Naturally, Twitter took to ripping the article apart, including "ethnic" showrunner Shonda Rhimes:
1st Reaction:: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse!— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 25, 2015
2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can't even be bothered.
I'm so sick of "ethnic" and "urban" being used by people who are afraid they'll sound like the racists they are if they say what they mean.— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) March 25, 2015
Is this the end of white people on TV? Stay tuned.