The Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity (TTIE) shared its’ findings from their first official project, “Behind- The-Scenes: The State of Inclusion and Equity in TV.”
TTIE conducted a Survey in which 282 Diverse (individuals who identified as women, non-binary, people of color, LGBTQ+, and/or people with disabilities) TV Writers for the project. 64% percent of those surveyed have encountered bias, discrimination, or harassment by members of their writing staff. Fifty-eight percent say their agents emphasize their “otherness” while pitching them for jobs, and 42 % started in entertainment as a “Diversity Slot” hire. 34% of women/non-binary respondents were the only woman or only non-binary person on the writing staff at least once. 38% percent of writers with disabilities, 65% of POC writers, and 68% of LGBTQ+ writers also report being the “only one.”
One noticeable common thread among the 282 survey respondents — approximately 10% of all staffed writers in television, and about a quarter of staffed women and half of staffed writers of color — was that most of them had to repeat a staffing level at least once. This was true for 73% of non-binary, people of color, LGBTQ+ or people with disabilities and true for eighty-three percent of writers of color! 58% percent of diverse writers have received pushback for pitching “nonstereotypical diverse characters or storylines.”
The numbers revealed in the study are sobering but the study also includes recommendations how to make diverse writers feel more welcome in writer rooms. The Think Tank Strongly urges those in power to “seek meaningful representation in hiring” by collecting and tracking writers room stats, creating mentorship and education programs, and providing unconscious bias and general management training. As well as “removing systemic barriers to promotion and advancement for diverse writers,” perhaps by financially incentivizing shows that encourage and support diverse writers and sanctioning shows that don’t.
To date, 250 Writers and Advocates have signed on to endorse and support the report, including Atlex Kurtzman, Jill Soloway, Lena Waithe and Marti Noxon.
For more, you can find the whole Behind-The-Scenes report here.