Report: Hollywood studios 'systematically discriminated' against female directors

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Feb 16, 2017

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently completed an investigation into allegations against the major Hollywood studios, claiming they discriminated against female directors.

According to Deadline, a source claims the EEOC has found that every studio engaged in discriminatory hiring practices and have now entered into settlement talks. The source said, "The EEOC is attempting to resolve the charges but, if unable to, may file a lawsuit."

The EEOC began their investigation back in 2015, interviewing more than 100 female directors across the industry.

These charges come on the heels of concerns that President Trump's shake-ups at the EEOC might derail the investigation. Last month, the president named Victoria Lipnic to chair the Commission. Lipnic's history with the EEOC has favored conservative action in legal cases, which has led to concerns over how she would perceive issues related to workplace discrimination against women and LGBT workers.

Opportunities for female directors working in the industry, especially on big-budget blockbusters, has become a hot-button issue in Hollywood. Women have received notably fewer opportunities to direct major action films.

In November 2016, while doing press for Rogue One, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said, "We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do Star Wars, they're set up for success. They're gigantic films, and you can't come into them with essentially no experience."

This catch-22, wherein female directors can't direct blockbusters until they've directed a blockbuster, is a common occurrence, and one that some producers are working to correct. Just weeks before Kennedy's comments, the team behind Marvel's Jessica Jones announced that every episode of the Neflix series' second season would have a woman at the helm.

It will be some time before we know whether this EEOC investigation makes for any actual change in the industry. In the meantime, it's up to producers to make diverse hiring a priority both in front of and behind the camera.