Hollywood is Getting Worse, Not Better on LGBT Representation, GLAAD Finds

Courtesy of Featureflash Photo Agency via Passport Magazine
Courtesy of Featureflash Photo Agency via Passport Magazine

GLAAD’s fourth annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), released on Monday morning, found that the general dis-inclusion of LGBT characters among the year’s 126 releases from major film studios, at a standstill from last year’s measure of 17.5 percent, hails only in disappointment to the serious downtick in the racial diversity of LGBT characters on screen in 2015.

In studying the “quantity, quality, and diversity” of LGBT characters in films released by the seven largest studios during the 2015 calendar year, GLAAD found that “Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” says Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO.

“Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”

No studio achieved a “Good” rating by GLAAD’s measure, with Twentieth Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, Sony Columbia Pictures, and Universal Pictures making “Adequate” marks, while Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Walt Disney Co. earned “Failing” grades for the year’s portrayals of LGBTs.

GLAAD’s report states that neither Paramount nor Disney included a single LGBT character in their lot of 2015 releases.

The report also points to LGBT characters taking the back seat. Of the 22 films found to be inclusive, 16, (or, 73 percent) gave less than 10 minutes of screen time to LGBT characters.

A “noticeable resurgence of outright offensive depictions of LGBT people, which relied on gay panic and defamatory stereotypes for cheap laughs” was cited, offering up two Kevin Hart films (surprise, surprise), Get Hard and The Wedding Ringer, for “more blatant and incessant gay panic humor than we have seen in a Hollywood film in years.”

Other movies that, thankfully, flopped at the box office, like Hot Tub Time Machine 2, were also condemned for “significant defamatory content predicated on this type of humor.”

In the year’s most dramatic box-office drop, the 126 films had close to a 7 percent decrease in LGBT characters of color, a so-called racial diversity that GLAAD called “dismal” across every media platform.

The SRI did behold some good news, as 10 (or, 22 percent) of the releases from four “art house” studios that were also examined — Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions, and Sony Pictures Classics— were found to be LGBT-inclusive, an uptick from 10.6 percent in 2014.

Last year, Freeheld was the only film nominated for a GLAAD media award, starring Ellen Page and Julianna Moore.

You can read GLAAD’s entire Studio Responsibility Index report for 2015 here.

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