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Shocking! New Study Shows That British Film/TV Industry Discriminates Against Minority Groups ("They're Not Trusted")

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 12, 2012 at 2:10PM

A new study on the British film and television production industry, presented on Tuesday at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference, is apparently causing a bit of a stir in the British film and TV industries.
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British TV

A new study on the British film and television production industry, presented on Tuesday at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference, is apparently causing a bit of a stir in the British film and TV industries.

Why? What else? Take a guess!

The Brit industry is accused of being discriminatory practices against the minorities, women and working class and nepotism.

In short, the study states that minorities, women and the working class are discriminated against because...

... they were not trusted insiders. They did not have the right accents, hairstyles, clothes or backgrounds to join the best networks.

Well, at least, they're upfront about it; nothing covert about this huh?

The study's research shows just how insular the industry is, stating that...

... most jobs were gained through friends and friends of friends. Openings were rarely advertised and producers and directors tended to rely on the grapevine.

As the UK's Independent paper notes, the release of the study comes after actor Maxine Peake spoke out about the lack of working class female film roles in Britain, stating in an interview, "It's still rife. We're still obsessed with accent and class in this country."

So nothing terribly new here, but I post it because it's right inline with all the discussion that's been had on the talent drain of black British actors looking to the USA for work, given the lack of opportunities where they are; a problem that also resembles the plight of black American actors in the USA, especially those working within the studio system.

But this study's focus is not so much on talent, but the men and women behind-the-scenes, in cubicles and excecutive suites. And again, the same can be said for black professionals in the industry here in the USA; how often have we heard about the lack of black men and women in positions of real power at any Hollywood studio?

But I guess I'm kind of taken by the explicitness of the reasons given in the case of the Brits - that the under-represented aren't "trusted insiders," and don't have the "right accents, hairstyles, clothes," etc.

However, yes, this problem of a lack of representation of minority groups in front of and behind the screen is probably universal.


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