Universal Entertainment Group, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering have entered a year-long partnership to pilot a Spellcheck for Bias resource to help support more authentic Latinx onscreen representation and casting opportunities during the early stages of the development process.
This goes in line with Universal’s continuing efforts to make strides in diversity and inclusion in film. In the Geena Davis Institute’s soon-to-be published annual, “See Jane 2020 report”, they look at the top 100 Films from the U.S. across Gender, Race, LGBTQIA and Disabilities portrayals. The study shows that there is a continuing lack of Latinx representation. The report finds that while Latinx accounts for 18.3% of the U.S. population (according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau), only 4.7% of all characters were Latinx in the top 100 popular films of 2019, compared with the 66.2% who were white characters.
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“I’m so thrilled that NBCUniversal has committed to working with us on this pilot program,” said Davis. “Their support will be extremely valuable in developing the tool to address the sparse and underdeveloped portrayals of the Latinx community which our upcoming study underscores. I believe our Spellcheck for Bias is going to be the biggest game-changer of all in creating onscreen inclusion and will help NBCUniversal and other studios identify opportunities to dramatically increase Latinx representations in their content, to counteract the conscious and unconscious bias in all of us.”
Spellcheck for Bias is currently being developed by the Institute in partnership with USC Viterbi to analyze scripts, manuscripts and advertising briefs to identify representation of characters and percentage of dialogue by gender, race, LGBTQIA and disabilities as well as unidentified characters along with several other attributes like violence, discrimination, and intelligence. With this partnership, Universal’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion will work with a team of advisors to develop the criteria to expand Spellcheck’s capabilities to include Latinx representation. Once the software is complete, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), Focus Features, and NBC Entertainment will provide scripts to test the tool for its effectiveness and potential to be used to help other underrepresented groups in film and television.
Creative partners include Actress/Producer Kate del Castillo; Harness, Co-Founded by America Ferrera; Blumhouse Productions, Brownstone Productions, Lord Miller, Will Packer Productions, NY Latino Film Festival as well as Executives Across NBCUniversal to Participate as Advisors in Developing Software Criteria.
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