Some from minority groups working in the film industry were unable to support themselves financially during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes had no choice but to leave.
Speaking at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week, Hollywood director Manon De Reeper suggested the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes may cause a greater disparity between white and non-white people in the film industry.
She said: “The first people to leave the industry during the strikes were marginalised people because they don’t make as much”.
While the strikes have had a positive impact in securing the rights and fair payment for actors and writers alike, institutional and historic marginalisation meant that minorities were not able to financially support their time away from work.
The WGA 2016 Hollywood Writers Report found that, on average, non-white writers make $33,000 less than white male writers and $18,000 less than white female writers with black and Latino writers occupying the lowest rung of earnings for writing.
Speaking on the progress made in the film industry following the Black Lives Matter movement, she said due to minorities leaving a lot of that work had been “undone”.
It comes after SAG-AFTRA announced the end of strike-action as an agreement was reached which included “critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities”.
While Manon was “delighted to hear” that such a provision was included she expressed that change will not happen overnight.
She said: “I am hoping this will help but I don’t know if it will have an immediate impact”.
Speaking on her work with Women of Colour Unite, an organisation aimed to promote inclusion and fair pay for women of colour in the film industry, Manon expressed that working with the unions had been difficult.
She said: “Their practices and the way they are set up is inherently exclusionary”.
Manon also expressed that there is much work to be done for Hollywood to become fair and inclusive especially now that many of those minority people have left.
She also mentioned that Hollywood culture is still rife with intolerant sentiments.
She said: “We are nowhere near where inclusion is fair and equitable.
“Racism, misogyny, colourism; I’ve seen it all. I have never seen that in the Netherlands so it was a bit of an eye-opener here in the US”.
Manon also challenged the fact that Hollywood has become more progressive. Instead the appearance of inclusivity is no more than just an appearance.
She said: “The thing about Hollywood is that they are very good at saying the right thing.
“A lot of these people are not as progressive as they seem”.
Despite this, Manon stressed that there are still people within the industry that do want to help and remains hopeful for the future of an inclusive Hollywood.