Joaquin Castro is calling for a more diverse media…
In a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) – chaired by the 45-year-old Mexican American politician and U.S. Representative for Texas’ 20th congressional district – is urging the commission to update its “Diversity in the Media: A Chart Book for Selected Industries” report, which hasn’t been updated since 2004.
The call to action furthers Castro and the CHC’s efforts to increase diversity in media and entertainment and to have a baseline of data for transparency and ultimately greater accountability in the industry.
The letter is addressed to EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon, as well as EEOC Commissioners Victoria A. Lipnic and Charlotte A. Burrows and discusses the importance of having a baseline of data for transparency and ultimately greater accountability.
The 2004 report lays out data on the diversity in media in three major categories: broadcasting, publishing and cable.
With the advent of streaming and the surge of digital content, the CHC points out that the media industry has “drastically changed” since the report was released over 16 years ago and it’s time that revisions be made.
Castro and the CHC requested the EEOC update the report no more than 60 days from the receipt of the letter. They also are looking for updates every 30 days until the final report is released.
The CHC broke it down and requested that the new report include:
- Disaggregated data on race, ethnicity and gender by individual industry rather than the grouping format used in 2004.
- New industries such as digital content and streaming provider
- Updated data for all positions in each industry from entry level up to and including Executive level positi
- When possible, data on salaries and wages disaggregated by race, ethnicity and gender for each of the employee categories, including Executive level positions for each industry.
“While discrimination and lack of equal opportunity for underrepresented groups is present in many fields, the media industry is unique in its ability to influence the broader culture and shape the perception of entire groups,” the letter stated. “When Latinos do not have the opportunity to shape the media’s depiction of our communities, it ultimately emboldens a misunderstanding of our communities that weakens the social fabric of American society. The CHC views greater transparency around employment data through publicly available information as critical to increasing representation for Latinos and other underrepresented communities.”
An updated report would hopefully help move the needle further as Hollywood tries to become more inclusive when it comes to talent in front of and behind the camera — specifically in a time when the country is seeing a social and civic reckoning.
It also comes after a blatant lack of Latinx representation when it came to Emmy award nominations, even though the television landscape was filled with Latinx-led shows like Vida, One Day At A Time and Gentefied.
Pose has been an Emmy favorite and although star Billy Porter was nominated, there was no love for show co-creator Steven Canals or series stars Mj Rodriguez and Indya Moore, who’ve delivered stellar work on the FX drama.
The new ABC comedy United We Fall features Latinx characters but with the cancellation of The Baker and the Beauty, there’s a glaring absence of shows with a majority Latinx cast on a major network.
Last fall, Castro led a congressional delegation to Los Angeles where the CHC met with several studios and streamers, talent agencies, as well as union and guilds. Congress has worked to include this language in almost all of the major funding bills during the Appropriations process and in the National Defense Authorization Act. The CHC has regular conversations with stakeholders regarding the state of the industry. Most recently the CHC had meetings with Amazon Studios and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as they develop their new 2025 diversity initiatives to ensure that Latinos are included in these goals on diversity.
The letter was signed by Castro, Robert Menendez (Co-Chair, Diversity Taskforce), Tony Cárdenas (Co-Chair, Diversity Taskforce) as well as members of Congress José E. Serrano, Ruben Gallego, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., Juan Vargas and Nydia M. Velázquez.