Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

Hollywood Is Still Predominantly White, Male, Straight & Able-Bodied, Study Says

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.


A report released Wednesday by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism reveals that Hollywood still isn't particularly diverse, even after #oscarssowhite and outrage over the whitewashing of roles. The study in question has looked at the cast, directors and writers of the top 100 films (in terms of popularity, not necessarily merit) of each year since 2007, KPCC reports. The report reveals that 2015 was not much more inclusive than previous years:

  • In the top 100 films, there were 4,370 roles where the characters were named or spoke. 73.7 percent of those characters were white, compared to 12.2 percent black, 5.3 percent Latino, and 3.9 percent Asian.
  • 68.6 percent of all speaking or named characters were men, while only 31.4 percent were women.
  • A total of 32 speaking or named characters whose sexualities were known were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Only one was transgender, which is one more than in 2014, according to the L.A. Times.
  • 2.4 percent of speaking or named characters were depicted as having a disability. This is the first year the study has included characters with disabilities in its findings.
  • Women are more often shown in revealing outfits (or no outfits at all) than men. They are also more inclined to be referred to by other characters as attractive.
  • 92.5 percent of the 107 directors were men. Four of them were black. Six were Asian or Asian American.
  • There were no Asian leads or co-leads in any of the films surveyed. There were also no LGBT leads or co-leads.
  • There was only one female composer in 2015.

There were some positive findings, including the fact that the number of women leads or co-leads went up by 11 percent.

Support for LAist comes from

According to researcher Stacy L. Smith, when it comes to diversity in Hollywood, there's been "a lot of talk and a little action."

We're seeing entrenched inequality. Whether we're studying gender, race, ethnicity, LGBT or characters with disabilities, we're really seeing exclusionary forces leaving out anybody that's not a straight, white, able-bodied man. Despite all the chatter and all the activism and all the press attention, it's another year where the status quo has been maintained.

Some 2015 films that were more diverse included The Force Awakens and the latest Fast and the Furious, while Mad Max was praised for having several female characters.