“Spiderperson 4”— Coming to a Theater Near You
Hollywood has given us “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967) and “Crash” (2005) — just two of the several movies that have tackled issues of race. But now a California scholar is hurling charges of racism and sexism against casting directors for “gender and race-based casting.” A Title VII lawsuit is just around the corner.
The study, “Hollywood’s Race/Ethnicity and Gender-Based Casting: Prospects for a Title VII Lawsuit,” conducted by Russell K. Robinson, acting professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, is intended to confront hidden discrimination — but is he taking political correctness to the extreme? The study points out that 82 percent of lead roles in major motion pictures are filled by Whites, while Blacks claim only 11 percent of the roles. That stat would be hard to argue, but the same report also considers denying an actress a role intended for a man to be discriminatory.
Just imagine British actor Hugh Grant in “Big Momma’s House” or Halle Berry as “The Terminator.” It just doesn’t work.
It’s true, more often than not, that Hollywood promotes stereotypes; and Robinson, a former entertainment lawyer, sees sinister forces lurking behind the camera.
“What appears to be audience preferences for White, male protagonists are socially constructed choices based in part on the industry’s history of discrimination and stereotyping in casting,” he says.
Let the legal battle begin.
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