L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein gets in some sharp digs at racist Hollywood in this column about John Singleton’s Universal deal to make five pictures under $15 million for the studio. “Wouldn’t Hollywood do a better job of creating movies that speak to this multiethnic audience if the studio executive suites weren’t so lily white?” asks Goldstein.
Not only does the article focus on the lack of black powerplayers in Hollywood, but also the lack of Latinos. For instance, Franc Reyes, who is directling the first film in the package, made “Empire,” the most successful film from Sundance 2002. But he hasn’t directed a film since. When Goldstein asked Singleton why, he answered: “He’s almost 6 feet tall, he’s Puerto Rican and he’s opinionated. Being Puerto Rican has made it tougher for him, no doubt.”
Spike Lee tells Goldstein: “Forget about what’s right, if you’re dealing with a pop culture that’s so driven by Latinos and African Americans, you’d think it would just be good practice to have people of color in those jobs. But when they are making the big decisions, about greenlighting movies and TV shows, we’re not participating.”
The head count is pretty dismal, reports Goldstein. “A survey of African American or Latino production executives at a vice president level or higher found one executive at 20th Century Fox, New Line and Paramount, none at Universal, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures. After three days of trying, I couldn’t get an answer out of Disney’s corporate publicity staff, so I’m guessing they’re at zero too. Whenever I would ask studio chiefs for an explanation, there was usually a long, awkward silence.”