John Leguizamo Boycotts Emmys for Lack of Latinx Representation: ‘That’s Cultural Apartheid’

“If you don’t have Latin people, there’s no reason for me to see it,” actors tells Yahoo! Entertainment

Last Updated: September 18, 2020 @ 12:56 PM

John Leguizamo refuses to watch the Emmys this year.

“I’m boycotting. If you don’t have Latin people, there’s no reason for me to see it,” the actor told Yahoo! Entertainment in a video interview Thursday. “What’s the point?”

“It’s unbelievable that our stories aren’t being told, and there’s one reason for that,” he added. “Executives don’t see us, don’t get us — don’t care about us.”

Latinx shows and actors were shut out of all major categories in this year’s nominations. Read more about what TheWrap’s guest blogger, actor Christian Barillas, calls a “problematic barometer” for Latinx progress here.

“It’s crazy. Like, we’re 50% of the population of Los Angeles and less than 3% of the faces in front of the camera? Less than 2% of the faces behind the camera? Less than 1% of the stories being told by Hollywood streamers and networks?” he continued. “That’s cultural apartheid.”

A Television Academy spokesperson gave the following statement to TheWrap: “As an organization which is open for membership to all individuals working in the television industry, the Television Academy fervently agrees that there is still much work to be done across our industry in regards to representation. We feel it is a very positive sign that over the past decade the well-deserved recognition of performers of color has increased from 1 in 10 to 1 in 3 nominees across all performer categories. Clearly that increase in representation has not been equal for all groups, and clearly there is still more to do to improve both gender and racial representation across all categories. For example, less than 3% of submissions this year came from members of the Latinx community. The Television Academy applauds the studios, production companies and showrunners who have committed to diversifying the stories they tell and the storytellers who tell them, both above and below the line.”

Improvements have been made in terms of Black representation this year, however, with about a third of the acting nominations going to Black actors.

Leguizamo recently made his directorial debut in “Critical Thinking,” which he also starred in. The film is based on a true story from 1998, and is described as following “five LatinX and Black teenagers from the toughest underserved ghetto in Miami fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher.”

“I’m just dying to see positive Latin stories out there,” Leguizamo said.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also called out the “demoralizing” lack of nominations in July. Around that time, the hashtag #LatinosAreOnTVToo began circulating on Twitter.