The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is asking legislators in New York to pass a bill that would give financial incentives to television shows that hire more women and minority writers and directors, according to Deadline.
With white males dominating the film and television industry, ACLU hopes that New York’s $420 million annual tax incentives sets aside at least $5 million towards the hiring diverse and talented employees.
Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU SoCal, states that discrimination in the TV industry is a serious civil rights problem that affects everyone.
“Excluding the voices of women and people of color from one of our most powerful cultural products reinforces stereotypes and bias people experience in their everyday lives,” she says. “It’s clear that the industry needs the incentives called for in this bill, along with external pressure from civil rights enforcement agencies, to finally fix this long-running, entrenched problem.”
The DGA recently reported that in the 2014-2015 network and cable season, 69 percent of episodes were directed by white men, men of color directed 15 percent, white women directed 13 percent and women of color only 3 percent. In the WGA, white women made up 30 percent of TV writers, while 13 percent were minorities.
Goodman is also teaming up with local ACLU to have the U.S. Civil Rights Commission investigate the underemployment of female TV and film helmers. Their overall stance is to promote equal opportunities behind the camera, put countless New Yorkers to work and ensure that everyone’s stories get told.
“New York is an entertainment capital and a progressive leader. By creating incentives for equity and inclusion in television, the state has a powerful opportunity to promote greater awareness of how we perceive race and gender, and how we act on those perceptions — how a police officer views a black man; how a teacher treats a Latino child; what a young girl believes she can accomplish when she grows up,” stated Bernadette Brown, deputy legislative director for the New York Civil Liberties Union.