Latino Group NHLA Joins Call for Greater Diversity at Paramount

Paramount says it welcomes “the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with the Latinx creative community further” in statement

Last Updated: October 16, 2018 @ 11:00 PM

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is joining a campaign calling for Paramount to improve its record of Latino inclusion.

In an open letter Tuesday, NHLA called on Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos to work with the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the National Latino Media Council to address what it says is “Paramount’s status as the worst-performing movie studio with respect to Latino inclusion.”

NHMC and NLMC have been organizing a boycott effort against Paramount after an NHMC report earlier this year said the studio had “the worst numbers amongst the major six film studios when it comes to Latino representation in front and behind the camera.” The groups organized a protest in front of the studio entrance in August, and have announced a second protest will take place Wednesday.

Paramount provided TheWrap with a statement it issued earlier this summer in response to the boycott effort.

“We met with NHMC in a good faith effort to see how we could partner as we further drive Paramount’s culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging,’ the statement says. “Under our new leadership team, we continue to make progress — including ensuring representation in front of and behind the camera in upcoming films such as ‘Dora the Explorer,’ ‘Instant Family,’ ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Limited Partners’ — and welcome the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with the Latinx creative community further.”

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is a coalition of 45 national Latino advocacy organizations. Read the full text of the letter below:

Jim Gianopulos
Chairman & CEO, Paramount Pictures Corporation
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90038

Dear Mr. Gianopulos:
The board of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) recently voted to support a nationwide
campaign against Paramount Pictures for its refusal to work with the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and the National Latino Media Council (NLMC) to address Paramount’s status as the worst-performing movie studio with respect to Latino inclusion. The NHLA is a coalition of 45 of the most preeminent national Latino nonpartisan civil rights and advocacy organizations in the United States. The NHLA works as a coalition to address national issues of concerns to the Latino community. We urge you to agree to work with NHMC and NLMC to address the issue of Latino exclusion immediately. The NHLA will join others in a campaign against Paramount Pictures until it addresses this issue.

As you know, Latinos represent over 18 percent of the United States population, and Latinos have been the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the country for more than a decade. In addition, Latinos comprise over one quarter of all public school students from kindergarten through 12th grade nationwide. Not surprisingly then, surveys indicate that Latinos represent nearly a quarter of all moviegoers in the United States. These statistics render all the more shocking – and insulting to all Latinos – Paramount’s abysmal representation of Latinos both in front of and behind the camera in your movies.

The Latino community faces a particular challenge in 2018 as some of our country’s leaders, including Donald Trump, regularly marginalize and demonize Latinos despite our longstanding and continuing contributions to public and military service in the United States. Prominent media companies that continue to dramatically underrepresent the Latino community are complicit in creating a societal atmosphere that permits such demonization. The Latino community can no longer tolerate such complicity.

Paramount Pictures must immediately attend to its worst record in the industry with respect to Latino inclusion, and cease its ongoing campaign of disrespect toward the Latino community and its leadership.

Sincerely yours,
Thomas A. Saenz
Chair, NHLA