Hollywood has never been great at diversity, and it’s not just the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. A new study from the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California found that while in 2014 and 2015 non-white minorities made up 37.9 percent of the overall American population, they got just 26.7 percent of speaking roles in movies.
The ratio wasn’t much better for scripted TV shows on cable (29.2 percent), broadcast networks (29.7 percent) or on streaming platforms (29.4 percent). Even more discouraging? The lack of non-white filmmakers behind the camera in Hollywood. Less than 12.7 percent of Hollywood movies are helmed by a minority director, and network TV is even worse (9.6 percent).
Ironically, among the highest-rated scripted shows of 2015 were Empire (No. 1), Scandal (No. 4), How to Get Away with Murder (No. 5) and Grey’s Anatomy (No. 7), all of which were created by an African-American and feature non-white actors in starring roles.