GLAAD released its fourth annual Studio Responsibility Index and reports studios, including Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros., are failing to include LGBT characters.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, in 2015 all studios included LGBT characters in less than 40% of their films. Lionsgate earned 33%, Sony 19%, Universal 19% and Fox came in at 15%, giving these studios an “Adequate” mark. Warner Bros. came in at 20% with Disney and Paramount not including any LGBT characters at all. Those numbers gave the three studios a “Failing” grade.
Disney distributes films for Marvel and LucasFilms and GLAAD believes the studio should include LGBT characters in films such as “Star Wars.”
“As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth ‘Star Wars film,'” GLAAD states in the report.
“2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’ has introduced a new and diverse central trio, which allows the creators opportunity to tell fresh stories as they develop their backstory. Recent official novels in the franchise featured lesbian and gay characters that could also be easily written in to the story,” GLAAD continued.
GLAAD also points out an alarming trend in “a noticeable resurgence of outright offensive depictions of LGBT, which relied on gay panic and defamatory stereotypes for cheap laughs.” Specifically the report mentions “Get Hard” starring Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell for “more blatant and incessant gay panic humor than we have seen in a Hollywood film in years.” “The Wedding Ringer” also starring Hart, and “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” were also mentioned for their gay panic humor.
Indie film distributors faired better with Universal’s Focus Features, a distributor of “The Danish Girl,” coming in at 30%, Sony Pictures Classics scoring 28% and Roadside Attractions earning 20%. Fox Searchlight received a failing grade for including no LGBT characters in its 2015 releases.
“Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO said in a statement. “Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”