Netflix Calls Itself Out for Lack of Latinx Representation in Its Original Content

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To be as transparent as possible and hold itself accountable for any shortcomings it was liable to find, streaming giant Netflix commissioned a study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to look at the amount of diversity it had in its original film and TV series in 2018 and 2019.

While the study showed that Netflix flourished in certain areas like gender equality in leading roles and the hiring of underrepresented content creators overall, there was much to be desired when the study focused specifically on the number of Latinx people that made up the cast and crew of Netflix’s original content. Here are some of the findings:

  • Only 2.6% of all films and series featured leads/co-leads who were Latinx (i.e., Latinos, not of Spanish origin, born in the U.S. or its territories only), which did not change per year. In film, 4% of leads/co leads were Latinx as were 1.7% in series.
  • A total of 4.5% of main cast members were Latinx, a figure which did not change over time. Latinx main cast filled 3.6% of roles in film and 5.1% in series.
  • Numerically, one director (<1%), one writer (<1%) and five producers (1.2%) comprised the pool of Latinx storytellers behind the camera in film. Only two of these creatives were Afro-Latino.
  • There were few Latinx creatives on top-grossing films, and thus no meaningful differences emerged between Netflix and theatrically released movies (1.8% of directors, <1% of writers, and 3.7% of producers).
  • For scripted series, only 2.7% of creators, 2.6% of producers, 2.5% of writers and 2.5% of directors were Latinx.
  • “Across film and series, few Netflix stories were centered around Latinx cast and even fewer benefitted from the creative vision of Latinx storytellers behind the camera,” the study read. “These findings are problematic, given that Latinos are the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. and likely a large share of the Netflix audience.”

    Along with gender and race, the study also looked at the inclusion of LGBTQ characters and characters with disabilities.
    “This report serves as the first of multiple studies from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to evaluate Netflix content,” the study read. “Later reports are designed to investigate how Netflix has addressed existing inclusion gaps and the progress made toward greater authenticity on screen and representation behind the camera.”

    Netflix says they are committed to extending the study for another six years and are launching the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, a fund of $100 million dollars they will distribute globally to help develop talent in underrepresented communities.