Latinos accounted for just 12% of employees in U.S. media jobs in 2019 compared to 18% of the total U.S. workforce, according to a new federal study demonstrating how Hispanic Americans continue to be underrepresented in Hollywood and media.
The new study, published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, defined media to include film, television, publishing and news. Employment varied widely between sectors of media; 8% of publishing subsector workers were Latino in 2019, while the film and video industry totaled 16%.
However, the actual representation within every sector also varied by occupation. On average, the GAO found that 11% of jobs across 13 different media occupations were held by Latino workers. But broken down more specifically, the numbers tell a different story. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which provided data through 2018, service jobs — such as cleaning, food service, valets or security — by far had the largest percentage of Latino workers at 22%.
By contrast, only 8% of professional employees were Latino, and the lowest percentage senior management and executive positions, was a pathetic 4%.
“The media industry, and Hollywood in particular, is still the main image-defining and narrative-creating institution of American society. This missing narrative, this systemic exclusion, it’s not only dangerous for Latinos, but it’s also dangerous for everybody,” Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) said in a speech at the National Press Club after the study was released.
“The media industry, and Hollywood in particular, is still the main image-defining and narrative-creating institution of American society. This missing narrative, this systemic exclusion, it’s not only dangerous for Latinos, but it’s also dangerous for everybody,” he continued.
This comes a week after a study by USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Stacy Smith and partners Eva Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Wise Entertainment found that only 7% of 2019’s top grossing films had a Latino lead. Over the course of 13 years the average number of films with Hispanic leads or co-leads was 3.5%, which researchers said in the statement does not represent a significant difference from 2019’s 7% given that both are very low numbers compared to the total number of films examined.
Read the full study here.