“Are Talent Agents the Source of Hollywood’s Utter Whiteness?”

“Hollywood, the industry, exists as a white bubble in a very brown town.

Los Angeles is nearly three-quarters minority. But minorities, particularly L.A.’s largest ethnic group, Latinos, barely register in front of and behind the camera in film and television.

A USC study released last year found that Latinos got about 5 percent of speaking roles in major films.

Following the Academy Awards debacle in which no minorities were nominated in the major acting categories, a lot of criticism has been levied at our town’s entertainment industry. Producers, directors, casting personnel, unions, trade publications and studios all have taken some blame.

But it’s the elite talent agencies, including Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor (WME) and United Talent Agency (UTA), that can wield the most power.

They send out agency-approved lists of directors and talent. They “package” deals with studios that bring pre-selected producers, directors and leading actors to the table. And they foster rising stars. From what we’ve been told, none of those pursuits includes many people of color.

Perhaps it’s the agencies’ own in-house demographics that help shape this lack of diversity from the top down. A UCLA report last year found that the population of agents at these firms is 90 percent white. In a town that’s 27 percent white.

“Although the major talent agencies are located in Los Angeles, the most diverse city in the world, they seem largely unaware of the amazing talent that exists in communities right under their noses,”Star Trek veteran George Takei said in a recent statement…”



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