More than 1,700 film industry professionals have signed an American Civil Liberties Union petition urging the government to investigate Hollywood gender discrimination through “biased hiring practices,” an ACLU official told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.
Though she declined to reveal signators’ names at this time, Melissa Goodman, director of the ACLU of Southern California’s LGBTQ Gender and Reproductive Justice Project, told THR that the signers include filmmakers, directors, writers, actors and producers.
“We have been very encouraged by the response to our petition,” Goodman said. “We think even these preliminary numbers show strong support for the civil rights agencies to take some action.”
The ACLU began circulating the petition online less than a month ago. It calls on three state and federal agencies — the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs — to take steps to end the gender disparities in the entertainment industry. It also requests that a monitor be installed to oversee steps to ensure gender equality.
The online petition informed film professionals that by signing they “will tell three government civil rights agencies (1) that gender bias against women directors in film and television is real and has gone on for far too long, and (2) investigation and oversight from civil rights enforcement agencies to foster reform of the industry’s biased hiring practices would be a welcome step. Our goal is to show the civil rights enforcement agencies that a significant number of people who are women directors or work with women directors want this long-running civil rights problem to be fixed.”
Representatives of the the EEOC and the California DFEH told THR their agencies are reviewing the ACLU’s allegations. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor would only confirm that the agency had received ACLU’s request.