Latinx orgs urge Paramount boycott to highlight Hispanic hiring numbers
Based on film research conducted between 2012 and 2017 (and UCLA’s latest Hollywood Diversity Report), the National Latino Media Council (NLMC) has found that Paramount Pictures has the worst numbers when it comes to hiring Latino actors, writers, and directors – and its members are taking action.
The NLMC is made up of twelve civil rights and advocacy groups championing Latino representation. Its leaders and those of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) have unveiled a list of planned actions against Paramount – and called for a boycott.
According to NHMC’s just released Lack of Latinx in Film Industry report (focused on the top 100 grossing films per year between 2016 and 2017), Paramount failed to deliver a single film featuring a Hispanic writer or Hispanic actor in a lead role.
In statement shared with Deadline, Paramount responded, “We recently met with NHMC in a good faith effort to see how we could partner as we further drive Paramount’s culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
“Under our new leadership team, we continue to make progress – including ensuring representation in front of and behind the camera in upcoming films such as Dora the Explorer, Instant Family, and Limited Partners – and welcome the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with the Latinx creative community further.”
In the past decade, there have been a few examples of boycotting campaigns targeted at the entertainment industry that prove there really is power is numbers, organization, and unity.
Here are three notable movie boycotts from the past decade that managed to affect major change.
Ender’s Game: 2013
LGBTQI protestors rallied for a boycott of the Gavin Hood directed movie due to the anti-equality activism of Orson Scott Card – the writer of the bestselling book the film is based on.
Protestors proposed the author “has a long, ugly history as an anti-gay extremist that goes far beyond opposing marriage equality” and urged “queer geeks and our allies” to boycott the movie. “Do not let your money finance his anti-gay agenda.”
Notably, in 1990, Card advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality, stating: “Those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behaviour cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”
Alternative events were organized in major US cities so queer geeks and allies could do other things rather seeing the movie. Meanwhile, cast & crew did all they could to distance the author from the film’s release.
The boycott may have worked. The film grossed just $125.5 million at the worldwide box office (on a production budget of $110 million) and a planned sequel to the film was subsequently axed.
The Last Airbender: 2010
Night Shyamalan’s live-action reimagining of the popular Nickelodeon animated show has been repeatedly dragged for being a clusterfuck of awful – so we’ll spare you our own judgements of it.
However, before audiences even had a chance to see just how bad the movie is, fans of the original show went to war against the movie and accused The Last Airbender of conspicuously whitewashing Asian characters.
Asian-American activists called for a boycott of the movie, while some fans created the website Racebending to re-imagine The Last Airbender without white actors.
It’s difficult to pinpoint whether the eventual failure of the film at the box office was due to this boycott, the fact it looked utterly dreadful, or the appalling critical reviews (or a blend of the three) – but the protests against it couldn’t have helped.
Significantly, the movie helped to turn the Racebending website into a legitimate movement. It now serves as go-to platform for fans looking to call out Hollywood casting decisions that they believe to be acts of whitewashing.
Disaster movie impresario Roland Emmerich thought it would be a fine idea for him to tackle an extremely sensitive real-life historical event for one of his projects and it was a real-life disaster.
Emmerich decided to replace the transgender people of color who led the landmark 1969 Stonewall riots for LGBTQI rights with white, cisgender, middle class, and “straight acting” people.
He told Buzzfeed this casting had to happen so that straight (and presumably white) audiences could identify with the characters. “I didn’t make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people.”
Understandably, audiences were outraged. An online petition spread like wildfire on social media using the hashtag #BoycottStonewallMovie and #NotOurStonewall and it absolutely worked.
The film played to approximately 13,100 moviegoers during opening weekend. By comparison, the petition against the movie was signed by 24,731 people.