Ethnic groups missing in action in Hollywood

Hollywood is still failing to accurately represent real-life American society.

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Hollywood is still failing to ­accurately represent real-life American society, according to a study of the 100 biggest-grossing films of last year.

The University of Southern California’s Annenberg school found that the make-believe world of movies generally does not reflect the country’s ethnic diversity.

About 74 per cent of actors were white, compared with a population that’s 63 per cent non-­Hispanic white in the United States.

Hispanics, who make up 17 per cent of the population, accounted for only 4.9 per cent of film roles, making them the most under-represented group on screen. Yet they account for about 25 per cent of tickets sales and are more likely than any other group to go to the cinema.

African-American characters represented about 14 per cent of all film roles, comparable to the 13 per cent black population, but 17 per cent of the films did not have a single speaking role for ­African Americans and they were under-represented in half of the films.

Asians filled 4.4 per cent of roles, compared with 5.3 per cent of the US population, 1 per cent were played by Middle Eastern actors, less than 1 per cent by ­Native Americans and 1 per cent by ­others.

There has been no significant change since 2007 in the number of non-white actors in top films in Hollywood, said Stacy L Smith, the director of USC Annenberg’s Media, ­Diversity & Social Change Initiative and the author of the study.

“The only obstacle here is ­imagination,” she said. “What we’re seeing in the aggregate is very few folks not white and male being able to participate behind the camera. The [on-screen] landscape remains primarily white and male. When you do have ­diversity behind the camera, things start to shift.”

* Associated Press