ACLU Statement that Federal Government is Investigating Gender Discrimination in Hollywood

Posted on Posted in blog

In a followup to last year’s request to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that they investigate the systematic failure to hire women directors in feature films and TV, the ACLU has announced that the EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs are continuing their probe.

The charge of the exclusion of female directors is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees against discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the EEOC investigated discriminatory hiring practices in Hollywood. The Department of Justice laid down goals and timetables for increasing the hiring of minorities, but at the time, given the low numbers of women in the industry, this didn’t include women directors.

In 1983, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) filed a class-action lawsuit against Warner Bros and Columbia on behalf of female and minority directors. However, in 1985 judge Pamela Rymer ruled that the DGA could not represent the class and that its counsel could not represent both the DGA and the plaintiff and the case was dismissed. There was a slight uptick in hiring of women after the class action, but the numbers have slightly worsened since then.