Study looks at discrimination among TV, film writers

| Jun 23, 2020 | Blog, Workplace Discrimination |

California writers who work in the film and TV industries may have more representation than in previous years, but a survey by the Writers Guild of America West found that there is still some way to go until they reach parity. According to the survey, 44% of the TV writers in the 2019-2020 season were women, but since women make up 51% of the population, this is still below parity. In film, women were 27% of writers, a gain of 4% from the previous year.

Movie studios varied in the number of women writers they hired in 2019. MGM was in the lead with women hired for 34% of writing jobs. Walt Disney hired 32% and Lionsgate 29%. In television, 30% of showrunner jobs went to women.

People of color lagged in proportional representation as well with 35% of writing jobs and 18% of showrunner jobs in TV despite being 40% of the population. In film, they had just 20% of writing jobs; Universal Pictures hired the largest number at 27%. Warner Media hired 24%, and Lionsgate hired 22%. Middle Eastern and Indigenous screenwriters had virtually no writing work in film or television at all.

Even once people are hired, they may still face significant harassment or discrimination in the workplace, ranging from inappropriate comments to not being promoted or supported. Individuals who believe that they are dealing with workplace discrimination or harassment might want to consult an attorney to find out what their rights are and how to proceed. In addition to federal laws, California has a number of state laws that protect employees. Unfortunately, despite this, harassment and discrimination can still be difficult to prove. If an employer does not respond to complaints about the issue, an attorney may help in filing a lawsuit.