Hollywood Diversity Fight Escalates


 

The following letter just went out in the U.S. Mail:

June 28, 2016

Graphic_001Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington DC 20530-0001

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Attorney General’s Office California Department of Justice Civil Rights Division P.O. Box 944255 Sacramento CA 94244-2550

Honorable Attorneys General Lynch and Harris:

We are writing you to seek appropriate investigations and actions against disparate impact and disparate treatment against women and protected minority groups caused by:

1. The provisions of California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 17053.95(b)(6)which effectively shuts out women and minorities from accessing a tax credit:

  1. Independent film” means a motion picture with a minimum budget of one million dollars ($1,000,000) that is produced by a company that is not publicly traded and publicly traded companies do not own, directly or indirectly, more than 25 percent of the producing company.

  1. The enforcement of California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 17053.95 by the California Film Commission which has shut out independent productions that qualify for the credit in a way that disparately impacts the employment of women and minorities.

Bob Dylan says in two different songs, "Money Doesn't Talk, It Swears." Notice how much MPAA spends on lobbying....

Bob Dylan says in two different songs, “Money Doesn’t Talk, It Swears.” Notice how much MPAA spends on lobbying….

Additionally, we believe that both as enacted and applied, Section 17053.95 – AB 1839 which was written by entertainment industry lobbyists – was intended to be and effectively promotes a conspiracy in restraint of trade. 95% of the tax credits utilized under this law have in fact gone to the studios that already have a dominant market position and thus reinforce their dominance, stymying and stifling independent film production.

usc-annenberg-logoThe USC Comprehensive Annenberg Study on Diversity to demonstrate the known impact of the lack of diversity in the Entertainment Industry – which we contend stems from that industry’s unlawful market share monopolization — showed that in the 414 studied films and series, only a third of speaking characters were female, and only 28.3 percent were from minority groups — about 10 percent less than the makeup of the U.S. population.

Characters 40 years or older skew heavily male across film and TV: 74.3 percent male to 25.7 percent female; Just 2 percent of speaking characters were LGBT-identified. Among the 11,306 speaking characters studied, only seven were transgendered (and four were from the same series); Behind the camera, the discrepancy is even greater. Directors overall were 87 percent white; Broadcast TV directors (90.4 percent white) were the least diverse; Just 15.2 percent of directors, 28.9 percent of writers and 22.6 percent of series creators were female; In film, the gender gap is greatest: Only 3.4 percent of the directors studied were women, and only two directors out of the 109 were black women: Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) and Amma Asante (“Belle”).

BuncheLikewise, the 2016 Hollywood Diversity Report of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA demonstrates that the trend over the past several years has been towards significantly less diversity in entertainment industry employment. See Exhibit 1, the report’s Executive Summary.

We believe that these statutes and their enforcement are facially unconstitutional under the California Constitution and are in violation of 42 USC 1983 and other civil rights laws, as well as the anti-trust statutes and public policies of the State of California and the United States of America.

As enacted and enforced, California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 17053.95 also violates the California Constitution, Article I, Sections 1, 7 and 31.

We are requesting appropriate investigations into:

  1. The role of industry lobbyists in the drafting phase of AB 1839, which enacted California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 17053.95;

  2. The disparate impact of Section 17053.95 on production by independent film companies and the concomitant adverse impact on employment by women and protected minority groups in the entertainment industry;

  3. The disparate impact and disparate treatment of independent film companies and the concomitant adverse impact on employment by women and protected minority groups in the entertainment industry;

  4. Whether a California Attorney General’s Opinion is warranted on the unconstitutionality of Section 17053.95;

  5. Whether other enforcement action at the state and/or federal levels is warranted into the practices of the California Film Commission.

We can provide you with guidance toward potential witnesses into the Film Commission’s policies and practices, who fear retaliation and blacklisting but who we believe will cooperate forthrightly and candidly with any investigation.

Respectfully Yours,

Jan B. Tucker

for the Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition (SFV/NELA Chapter, NOW; Miss Revolutionaries; L.A. Progressive; California League of Latinos And Chicanos; California Leadership Institute; Todos Unidos; Bring Hollywood Home Foundation; United For Education Coalition)

Jerilyn Stapleton, President

For California National Organization for Women

David Rodriguez, State Director

For California League of United Latin American Citizens

Erick Holly, President

For Inglewood South Bay Branch, NAACP

Angel G. Luevano

TODOS UNIDOS

Argentina Davila Luevano

California Leadership Institute

Sherry Lear, Esq.

For Miss Revolutionaries

Sharon Kyle & Dick Price

For L.A. Progressive

Norma Ramirez

President, for United For Education Coalition

Karen Eyres, Treasurer

For Hollywood Chapter NOW

Patricia Nazario

Independent Film Producer

Linda M. Pruett

Co-President, San Fernando Valley/Northeast LA Chapter of NOW

Cynthia Conover

Co-President, San Fernando Valley/Northeast LA Chapter of NOW

Roz Brown

Former President, SFV/NELA NOW

Nancy Pearlman

Independent Producer, EcoNews

L.A. Community College District Trustee (for ID only)

Bring Hollywood Home Foundation Press Release

CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS SIGN WITH BRING HOLLYWOOD HOME LETTERS_001

About Jan Tucker

The Detectives Diary is an innovative tool combining Private Investigation and Journalism. In 1984, Steve Harvey's Los Angeles Times "Around the Southland" Column entitled Jan Tucker's program of providing low-cost "Opposition Research" services to indigent and working class candidates for public office, "Take Cover: Hired Mudslinger Rides into Town." A 1996 Los Angeles Times article by Henry Chu carried a sub-headline identifying Tucker as a "P.R. Guru." In November 2012, Tucker became Criminal Justice Columnist for Counter Punch Magazine and a commentator for Black Talk Radio. As a private investigator since 1979 and a former First Vice President of Newspaper Guild Local 69, Tucker takes these skills to a new level in the pages of the Detectives Diary with insightful and unique exposures and analysis of history and current events. State Director--California League of Latinos And Chicanos, Former seven term Chairman of the Board of the California Association of Licensed Investigators, Co-President San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter-National Organization for Women, former National Commissioner for Civil Rights-League of United Latin American Citizens, former Second Vice President-Inglewood-South Bay Branch-National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, former founding Vice President-Armenian American Action Committee, former First Vice President, Newspaper Guild Local 69 (AFL-CIO, CLC, CWA), Board member, Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition, Community Advisory Board member--USC-Keck School of Medicine Alzheimer's Disease Research Project
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