Hispanics underrepresented in Hollywood: StudyA new study shows that less than 5 percent of actors in top Hollywood films are Hispanic.
About 74 percent of the actors in the study were white, compared with a U.S. population that’s 63 percent non-Hispanic white.
Hispanics, who are 17 percent of the nation but had 4.9 percent of film roles, were the most underrepresented group on screen. That’s despite the fact that Hispanics bought about 25 percent of all movie tickets and are more likely than any other group to go to the movies, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
Black characters represented about 14 percent of those in the films, which is comparable to America’s 13 percent black population. However, 17 percent of the films examined in the study did not have a single black speaking role, and half the films had a smaller percentage than the population, which indicates that a few movies with predominantly black casts balanced out the many movies with few black actors. Last year was called a banner year for black actors, due to the success of films such as “12 Years a Slave.”
Hispanic stars such as the Dominican Zoe Saldana, the New York-born Puerto Rican Jennifer Lopez and the Spaniard Antonio Banderas appeared on the big screen. Yet there has been no significant change since 2007 in the number of non-white actors in top films, said Stacy L. Smith, director of USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative and author of the study being released Monday.
The study examined all 3,932 actors who spoke at least one word in the top 100 films of 2013. USC did similar counts in 2007-10 and 2012.
Asians filled 4.4 percent of roles in 2013, compared with their 5.3 percent of the U.S. population. One percent of roles were played by “Middle Eastern” actors, less than 1 percent by Native Americans and 1 percent by “other.”