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A version of this story first appeared in the March 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
The #OscarsSoWhite blame game went like this: The Academy nominations were so white because the studios failed to produce enough diverse movies to choose from because the agencies failed to provide enough diverse candidates to consider.
Like studios, the agency world long has been considered very male and very, very white. To test that conventional wisdom, THR counted the motion picture agents in talent, lit, sales, physical production and media rights at the top four agencies. Whereas women account for roughly a third of those reps, persons of color (not including Middle Easterners) represent about a tenth.
“We have much further to go, but we’re creating a pipeline,” says CAA head of diversity Ryan Tarpley. In the past five years, 59 percent of the agency’s interns have been diverse, and half of the interns who transition to full-time employment at CAA are minorities.
Meanwhile, recruitment initiatives at WME include mentorship to equip racially diverse assistants for promotion and financial aid for some hires — ground-level efforts in hopes that, eventually, a change is gonna come.
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