October 12, 2015

A Progressive-Inspired Hollywood Horror Show

The heavy hand of government is poised to slap them around.

Of all the progressive groups in the world, none purport themselves to be hipper, more enlightened and more wondrously wonderful than Hollywood “glitterati.” Thus it is somewhat shocking (or is that delightful) to learn the heavy hand of government they so assiduously support is poised to slap them around like they’ve never been slapped before. The federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reportedly will begin interviewing female directors in an effort to ascertain if gender discrimination exists in Hollywood. “It could be the first step toward a class-action lawsuit against the industry,” Deadline Hollywood reports.

The EEOC is bringing plenty of firepower to this government excavating operation. They are the federal enforcers of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 that prohibits age-based employment discrimination against individuals 40 and older; the Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibiting gender-based wage discrimination; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that addresses discrimination against a qualified individual with a disability; and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 that prohibits genetic-based employment discrimination.

Marla Stern-Knowlton, Systemic Supervisor of the EEOC’s Los Angeles district office, sent a letter to female directors telling them their names were provided to her by Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California. “Ms. Goodman has advised the EEOC that you would be willing to speak with us, so that we may learn more about the gender-related issues which you are facing in both the Film and Television Industries,” the letter states. “To that end, I would like to begin coordinating dates and times for these interviews, to take place during the month of October at our Los Angeles District Office. Please note that these interviews will be considered confidential.”

Attorney Goodman is loaded for Hollywood bear. “Blatant and extreme gender inequality in this large and important industry is shameful and unacceptable,” she declares. “The time has come for new solutions to this serious civil rights problem.” She is being given ammunition by a study, “Gender & Short Films: Emerging Female Filmmakers and the Barriers Surrounding their Careers” put together by Stacy Smith, Ph.D., and her Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Smith is another dedicated culture warrior who insists that “when money moves in, women get pushed out.”

The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) is also in on the act. A report by them showed a 3.5% decline of female executive producer positions from two seasons ago to last season. “As women represent slightly more than half of the U.S. population, the group was underrepresented by a factor of more than 3-to-1 among the writers who ran television shows in 2013-14,” the report stated.

For glitterati who aren’t up to date on the implications of that statement, a perusal of the Obama administration’s stance on “disparate impact,” which reduces “discrimination” to statistical outcomes — absent an iota of actual intent — is required reading.

“I would like the EEOC to take legal action against the studios, the networks and the commercial production companies to make them comply with the law,” said commercial director Lori Precious, one of the women the EEOC wants to interview. “I hope they force people to change the way they do business because Hollywood is not exempt from the law.”

Precious is likely to get her wish — sort of. “Hollywood Flees California at a Alarming Rate” read a Variety Magazine headline published in March of 2014. That article dealt with the myriad number of financial disincentives associated with filming in California — meaning a number of the same people who invariably rail about the need for wealth redistribution are somewhat less than sanguine about their wealth being part of the equation. Add a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit on top of that disincentive and California’s just passed Fair Pay Act, requiring studios to embrace a series of metrics, such as box office take, awards, physical demands and other empirical measures to justify disparate pay rates, and you get a Hollywood movie title that says it all:

The Perfect Storm.

What could the Hollywood power brokers do to avoid that storm? “According to recent figures from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) almost 70 per cent of the studios’ annual revenue from box office now comes from international markets,” the BBC reported last October.

In other words, if Hollywood can take them “over there,” they can also make them over there. Higher costs associated with entertainment trade unions in California have already sent filmmakers to other states and Canada — meaning “enlightened thinking” has already taken a back seat to the bottom line. The prospect of being forced to kowtow to government-backed quota warriors is likely to yield similar results.

“I hope the Obama administration and Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will give the EEOC every ounce of support they can muster in this historic effort to create equality for women directors in U.S. media, at last,” said director Marie Giese who pressed the EEOC for more than two years to investigate Hollywood’s hiring practices.

Be careful what you wish for, Ms. Giese. As Deadline Hollywood notes, “The EEOC’s probe — and the ACLU’s complaint — for now appears to be limited strictly to female directors, but the issues appear to be more systemic.”

What’s likely coming next? “For the first time in almost two decades, no person of color received an acting nomination — the depressing icing on a white-washed, male-dominated Oscars cake. This sucks,” pontificates the Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon. And just last Thursday, the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans (MANAA), a watchdog group that promotes positive portrayals of Asian-Americans in media, hammered director Ridley Scott for “whitewashing” his sci-fi movie, The Martian.

Enough lawsuits will undoubtedly produce the “equality” Giese envisions: people of every ethnicity, race, age and gender will be equally unemployed.

For decades, progressives in Hollywood colluded with their political soul mates in Washington, DC, to firmly establish a divide-and-conquer grievance culture of competing sub-groups with demands based on nothing more than carefully cultivated victimhood. That they will likely be consumed by the very same monster they created is a kind of cosmic justice.

Just like you’d see in a Hollywood movie.

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