Between 2015's monumental moments like Viola Davis's rousing speech at the Emmy's and Ava DuVernay's sold-out Barbie doll, this year has inspired quite a bit of conversation around race and Hollywood. As the statistics continue to point out, America's movie industry continues to be a boy's club for mostly white men.
Despite clear inequities (like the fact that women directed only 6.4% of movies), one established director does not place the blame on Hollywood.
William Friedkin insists Hollywood's diversity problem is not the result of prejudice
The director of The Exorcist and The French Connection has a long discussion with Cinephilia Beyond, and after railing against superhero movies (which he calls "mindless"), he proclaims that he's never met any prejudiced person in Hollywood ever.
I’ve been in Hollywood for fifty years and I have never met an executive of a television or movie company, or a talent agency, that was prejudiced against people of different colors or against women. I’ve never met anyone. Now, why there are more men directing films than women, I can’t answer that. But it’s not because of prejudice.
He goes on to explain that he doesn't have the lived experience of a woman and/or person of color, but he is adamant that the entertainment industry is a meritocracy.
I’m not a woman, or an African-American, so I can’t speak to that experience except to say that I know it’s an open playing field. And today there are many, many women in the entertainment business here who are in charge of everything.
It may be true that there are many women in the industry, but they are clearly not getting to the top positions, as all the data continues to show. Considering most biases are subconscious, it's also entirely possible that prejudices inform major decisions without being vocalized. But, something tells me Friedkin has seen the numbers and still maintains his stance.
For more of his thoughts, you can read his full statements Cinephilia Beyond.
(Source: Cinephilia Beyond)