DGA Leader a Rare Win for Hollywood Diversity (Analysis)
This story first appeared in the July 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Paris Barclay's election June 22 as Directors Guild of America president makes him the first person of color and first openly gay leader in the history of the guild.
More significantly, Barclay, 50, joins a small yet growing club of top Hollywood players who aren't white, heterosexual males. Notably, that group includes Warner Bros.' recently anointed CEO Kevin Tsujihara, the first Asian-American studio head; SAG-AFTRA's national executive director David White, who is African-American; and gay chieftains including CAA managing director Bryan Lourd and NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. (Meanwhile, Latinos are noteworthy by their near absence from top slots outside of Spanish-language media.)
Despite the big strides in recent years, Hollywood diversity remains fairly abysmal. A recent DGA report revealed that 73 percent of TV directing jobs went to white males in 2011-12. The guild even published a "worst list" to shame shows that hired no women or minority directors (including HBO's Veep and Comedy Central's Workaholics).
At the same time, a Writers Guild of America report in March said that female TV executive producers are underrepresented by a factor of 2 to 1 in comparison with their percentage of the population (and minorities are underrepresented by a factor of 5 to 1). The latest figures from SAG are from 2007-08, but they show that 70 percent of actors in film and TV productions were white.
SAG-AFTRA's White calls Barclay, a two-time Emmy winner for NYPD Blue, "an experienced leader and an award-winning director," adding that it was "good to see an expansion in the ranks of diverse leadership in our industry."