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NAACP gives a stern warning to TV…

December 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) On the heels of issuing a critical report about Hollywood’s minority hiring, the president of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People threatened the entertainment industry Thursday with unspecified political actions if it did not increase diversity.

At a time when the country is excited about the election of the first African American president in U.S. history,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, who was appointed in May to head the civil rights organization, “it is unthinkable that minorities would be so grossly underrepresented on broadcast television.”

The statement came shortly after the organization’s Hollywood bureau released a 40-page report called “Out of Focus, Out of Sync — Take 4” that found blacks and other minorities continue to be underrepresented in “nearly every aspect of the television and film businesses.”

Though he declined to be specific, Jealous said the organization “could bring the hammer down,” including “shaming the industry,” if it does not improve diversity.

The report marks some of the most pointed criticism of the industry by the civil rights organization and signals a return to the issue for the group, which has been inconsistent in recent years in keeping tabs on networks’ efforts to embrace multiculturalism. Then-NAACP President Kweisi Mfume first lashed out at the networks in 1999, pointing out that none of the 26 new comedies and pilots that season featured a minority lead.

Today, only three network series — CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “The Unit” and ABC’s “Ugly Betty” — have minorities in leading roles.

Written By Greg Braxton

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