Editorial Notebook

Hollywood should not stop at hashtags

By Anna Koenig January 24, 2018

Sunday, January 7 marked the 75th annual Golden Globe award show, honoring the best in this year’s films and television shows. Even though the program had its share of interesting and odd moments—such as James Franco winning Best Actor for The Disaster Artist—the night was undoubtedly dominated by the Time’s Up campaign.

This movement had risen in popularity after an increasing number of individuals spoke up about their sexual abuse experiences within the industry. Celebrities were dressed in all-black clothing and specially made Time’s Up pins to show their support for victims of sexual assault and abuse. Some celebrities even passed on bringing their regular dates in order to bring prominent sexual harassment activists to the show. Yet, while deeply appreciative of the responsive efforts by celebrities and the show as a whole, I am concerned with how involved they will be in the months following.

Many people will remember the 2016 movement of #OscarsSoWhite, in which the public called out the lack of diversity in the nominations for the Academy Awards. This movement started as a result of—at the time—being the second year of a completely white roster in each acting category, a feat which hadn’t occurred since 1998. This is most likely a result of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the individuals who vote on each nomination and winner) being reported as 94% white. The use of #OscarsSoWhite on platforms like Twitter and Facebook was meant to highlight how the industry continuously overlooks minority actors, directors, and screenwriters in exchange for well-known white celebrities. Similar to Time’s Up this year, #OscarsSoWhite dominated that award season; unfortunately, Hollywood seemed to assert the hashtag as the highest means of action in drawing back some of the inequality. As a result, they remain indifferent to the fact that the 75th award show wasn’t as racially progressive as they had once hoped.

Though this past Golden Globe show included several actors, directors, and screenwriters of color, most of the productions that included these individuals were completely snubbed. The only notable winners were Aziz Ansari, Guillermo Del Toro, and Sterling K. Brown—Brown being the first black actor to win in the Best Actor in a Television Series in the ceremony’s 75 years.

I don’t mean to diminish the significance of either the Time’s Up or #OscarsSoWhite movements; I just wish to emphasize the importance of fighting for a cause as something that doesn’t just stop with a hashtag or a protest. I hope tremendously that Hollywood and the film industry uses the power gained from this movement to make a positive difference in the world.