El Rey Network and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez spearhead diversity initiative in partnership with national Latino advocacy groups
GritoBlast! Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, Chairman and Founder of El Rey Network (ERN), announced the creation of the El Rey Diversity Council, an advisory group comprised of leading national Latino advocacy organizations that have collaborated with the 24-hour, English language cable network since its early days of development in late 2011.
The council is designed to engage the entertainment industry in developing content that more fully represents the changing face of America. Council members, comprised of Latino leaders and influencers, will convene for the first time on May 20th in Austin, home to El Rey Network and Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios, to discuss a common goal: to bring attention to what has been a clear shift in the country’s demographics and develop a comprehensive reporting system to ensure that diversity is the rule, not the exception in Hollywood.
A recent Associated Press analysis revealed little progress in the hiring of minority talent, particularly amongst Latino creatives, in the 15 years since civil rights groups challenged major broadcasters to diversify their programming. The NALIP/Columbia University report “The Latino Media Gap: The State of Latinos in U.S. Media” found that between 2010-2013, Latinos made up just 4.1% of TV directors, 1.2% of producers and 1.9% of writers; in movies, 2.3% of movie directors, 2% of producers and 6% of writers despite representing 17% of the total U.S. population.
“It has been my personal commitment from the beginning for El Rey Network to not only set very high standards for the kind of quality entertainment we provide our viewers, but also to set industry standards and high benchmarks for diversity both in front of and behind the camera,” commented Rodriguez. “As a creator of content, I feel an obligation to our community to advocate for inclusivity. This group will creatively approach issues, build a community of like minds and big ideas, advocate for change and work diligently to have our voices heard.”
Founding members of the Council include: The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), MANA: A National Latina Organization, The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA), The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).
The El Rey Diversity Council will specifically provide guidance and leadership to the media and entertainment industry in four key areas: (1) Employment/Workforce Recruitment & Retention; (2) Procurement; (3) Programming; and (4) Philanthropy & Community Investment.
Goals of the initiative, which will be spearheaded by El Rey Network’s Dawn Holliday-Mack and Theresa Vargas Wyatt, will be to share best practices that promote diversity; actively monitor the industry’s progress; publish detailed annual reports; and identify, evaluate and acknowledge transformative organizational/institutional changes that help forward the conversation about diversity within the entertainment industry at large.
Rodriguez added: “With the help and commitment of these long-standing and well-respected organizations, we intend to build an entertainment community where diversity is not just a conversation but an inherent part of Hollywood’s DNA.”
Inaugural Gathering of ERN’s Diversity Council to take place Wednesday, May 20th in Austin.