51 U.S.F. L. Rev. F. 1 (2016-2017)

handle is hein.journals/usfor51 and id is 1 raw text is: 





Bias and the Business of Show

Employment Discrimination in the

Entertainment Industry


                                                   By KATHLEEN A. TARR*


     I can't mount a film of this budget.., and say that my lead actor is
     Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I'm just not going to get it
     financed. So the question [of casting non-White actors] doesn't even
     come up.
     - Ridley Scott, Director1



YOU WOULD THINK ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION (AEA)-of all
unions-would      remember    its Shakespeare: A      rose  by   any  other
name .... Yet, despite decades of casting notices that, in calling for
Caucasians, implicitly excluded people of color, it wasn't until a
production of Hamilton sought auditions from non-White talent that
AEA took noticeable issue.2 While AEA refuses to release its demographic
data regarding employment under its contracts, statistics published by The
Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC) show an
overwhelming     preference   for  White   talent  in   stage  productions,3


    *   Kathleen A. Tarr, B.A. University of California, Berkeley, J.D. Harvard Law School, is
a former Skadden Fellow, and is currently Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric and
tutor at the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking at Stanford University. Kathleen would like to
thank the staff of the University of San Francisco Law Review, particularly Christopher Lull, for
constructive feedback and editing assistance.
    1.  Scott Foundas, 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' Director Ridley Scott on Creating His
Vision of Moses, VARIETY, (Nov. 25, 2014), http://variety.com/2014/film/news/ridley-scott-
exodus-gods-and-kings-christian-bale-1201363668/ (after outcry from Scott's decision to cast
White actors in most of the key roles in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings', Scott explained to Variety
that otherwise he would not have been able to obtain financing for his film).
    2.  Isabella Ohlmeyer, 'Hamilton' casting call for nonwhite actors give diversity a shot,
SAN         FRANCISCO         CHRONICLE         (Apr.        6,        2016),
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Hamilton-casting-call- for-nonwhite-
actors-7232978.php.
    3.  See The Asian American Performers Action Coalition, Ethnic Representation on New
York City Stages 2014-2015, ASIAN AM. PERFORMERS ACTION COALITION (Apr. 2016),
http://www.aapacnyc.org/uploads/1/1/9/4/11949532/aapac 2014-2015 report.pdf  (explaining

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