Recently, the film and television industry has been under fire as celebrity actors and actresses are becoming more vocal regarding discrimination. Stars such as Emma Thompson and Kristen Stewart of the “Twilight” film series have stated that Hollywood is sexist, and that the trend is getting worse. Matt Damon has also put the problem under a national spotlight with comments related to minorities and gays in the film industry, both in front and behind the camera. This news shows no sign of going away any time soon, and news recently broke that the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance, as well as the California Department of Fair Employment, have begun investigations regarding claims of discrimination against female directors. The initial complaint was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, or “ACLU,” which asked the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to investigate.
With New York City and the tri-state area as one of the leading film and television production areas in the United States, this information may be important for aspiring female directors and anyone in the film industry, as the findings will likely affect the industry on a national level.
It is believed that between 2009 and 2013 as few as 4.7 percent of studio films and 10 percent of independent films were directed by females. With over half the United States populated by women, these numbers are alarming. The ACLU has asked federal agencies to see whether these numbers could have an impact as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, enacted to prevent gender discrimination in the workplace.
It remains to be seen how this will all play out. But, there is no doubt that this is not the last we will hear of this topic. And, hopefully for all females working in the film industry, at the very least this news will remind the nation that gender discrimination still exists, and that gender discrimination in the United States is not tolerated.
Source: Cinema Blend, “The Feds Investigate Claims Of Discrimination Against Female Directors,” Catarina Cowden, Oct. 5, 2015