Despite accusations of “whitewashing” casting of The Last Airbender, director M. Night Shyamalan claims that the racial diversity in the upcoming summer film as “The most culturally diverse tent-pole in history.” Issues around racial and gender diversity will be top of mind as boycotts and protests around this film are already being planned.
At the center of the storm is Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the production and distribution of The Last Airbender. Racebending puts the magnifying glass to Paramount’s track record over the last decade and the findings from this report are abysmal.
By examing the top billing of all of Paramount’s films over the last 10 years:
- 77% of Top Billed roles were given to male actors (vs 23% female actresses)
- Only one movie released in 10 years starred an actress of color–Queen Latifah in Last Holiday (2006). Out of 30 lead actresses, only one actress–Queen Latifah–was a person of color.
- A whopping 86% of Paramount films distributed or produced in the last decade starred a white performer.
- Out of 133 movies either produced or distributed, 17 had a black lead actor and only one had an Asian actor–Parry Shen in the film Better Luck Tomorrow (2002). However, Paramount did not produce Better Luck Tomorrow, the company distributed the film to theaters after the film made the independent film circuit.
- Over a 10 year period from 2000 to 2009, Paramount did not produce a SINGLE movie starring a Latino, Asian American, or Native American actor.
There are many more stats and facts, with graphs and full citations in the full report at Racebending. Kudos to Sirajah Raheem, Renee Starling, and Marissa Lee for their well-cited research efforts on this report.
Image Credit: Racebending.com