Issues with Entertainment

Racial and gender discrimination, sexism, exclusion of female creators, and cultural appropriation are some issues women around the world have expressed within the entertainment industry.

Racial and Gender Discrimination

  • In 2019, comedian and Oscar-winning actress, Monique Angela Hicks sued Netflix for gender and racial discrimination. According to the lawsuit, Mo’Nique accessed the company for underpaying her for a stand-up special, while offering others tens of millions of dollars.
  • According to the lawsuit “despite Mo’Nique’s extensive résumé and documented history of comedic success, when Netflix presented her with an offer of employment for an exclusive stand-up comedy special, Netflix made a lowball offer that was only a fraction of what Netflix paid other (non-Black female) comedians.” The ‘talent fee’ offered to the comedian was significantly low compared to the amount offered to other men and white women presenting in the same stand-up original specials. Following the lawsuit, comedian Wanda Sykes also came forward in support of Mo’Nique saying that she had rejected an offer from Netflix saying that she was ‘offended’ by the low offer.
  • Mo’Nique continues to claim that Netflix was gender-biased as it reportedly paid Dave Chapelle, Ricky Gervais, and Chris Rock 40 times more than it offered Mo’Nique per show.

Sexism, Misogyny, and Violence

  • Sexism, misogyny, and violence against women in the entertainment industry have been going on for a long time. According to DJ Rebeka, she has dealt with sexual assault in the music industry over the years.
  • In September 2020, she set up a campaign against sexual violence and harassment in the music industry. She was compelled to start the campaign following praises from male colleagues for Eric Morillo, a music producer who was arrested for sexual assault. He was later be found dead in his apartment in Florida.
  • Rebekah also launched the #ForTheMusic campaign, a movement that saw women come forward to express their “harrowing accounts of sexism, misogyny, and violence” in the dance music scene.

The Oscars Women Exclusion

  • The Oscars have for a long time been criticized for their exclusion of women, specifically the role Black women play as directors. This year, for example, Cynthia Erivo of “Harriet” was the only performer of color nominated. Female directors of top-rated films, such as Lulu Wang of “The Farewell,” Lorene Scafaria of “Hustlers,” and Greta Gerwig of “Little Women,” were left out.
  • The Oscars have set rules that have made it difficult for women directors to be recognized in the film industry. According to the Academy’s website, members must have at least two directorial credits, at least one of which had to premiere in theaters in the last 10 years.
  • These rules present a major obstacle for female directors. According to the Annenberg Institute, “women directed just 4% of the top 1,200 films from 2007 to 2018. Of those female directors, only 17.4% had gotten to direct another movie beyond their debut feature (13% directed a second, 2.2% a third, and 2.2% a fourth). By contrast, 45.7% of men who made a top movie in the last decade had gotten to direct more movies after their feature film debut (21% a second, 13.1% a third, 6.2% a fourth, and 5.5% a fifth or more).”

Differences in career opportunities for male and female directors

Exclusion of female creators

  • In 2018, Black filmmakers saw a successful entry into the film industry, a business that was dominated by white men. However, this entry did not favor Black women directors.
  • According to a report released by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, “14% of the directors of the top 100 grossing movies in 2018 were black.” However, only four of the 100-grossing movies in the same year were helmed by female directors — Abby Kohn (“I Feel Pretty”), Kay Cannon (“Blockers”), DuVernay (“A Wrinkle in Time”), and Susanna Fogel (“The Spy Who Dumped Me”).
  • Women of color were barely given the privilege to be behind the camera. Over the last 12 years, only three Asian women, five black women, and one Latina directed any of these 1,200 films.
  • A report by San Diego State University found that 92% of the top 250 highest-grossing domestic releases had no women directors, 73% had no women writers, and 27% had no women producers.

Cultural Appropriation

  • Several women in the entertainment industry have been called out for cultural appropriation. Beyonce and Adele are some celebrities who have been criticized for cultural appropriation. In 2016, Beyonce and Coldplay’s Hymn received criticism from online Indian audiences.
  • According to the critics, a Bollywood actress featured on the video in “traditional Indian dress with henna et al and the video had other montages that were said to be Indian stereotypes.”
  • Adele, a multi-Grammy award-winning singer, is probably the most recent case to face cultural appropriation accusations. The singer appeared on her social media platforms dressed in a “Jamaican-flag string bikini top and hair done in Bantu knots.” Many of her fans expressed their dismay at the singer’s dress code.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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