Robert Rodriguez, El Rey Network kick off diversity in Hollywood initiative

DetailsGabriel Miramar-Garcia | 11 May 2015

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, chairman and founder of El Rey Network (ERN), has created the El Rey Diversity Council.

The advisory group is comprised of national Latino advocacy organisations that have collaborated with the 24-hour, English language cable network since its early days of development in late 2011. The council is designed to engage the entertainment industry in developing content that more fully represents the changing face of America.

Council members will discuss a common goal: to bring attention to what has been a clear shift in the country's demographics and develop a comprehensive reporting system to ensure that diversity is the rule, not the exception in Hollywood.

A recent Associated Press analysis revealed little progress in the hiring of minority talent, particularly amongst Latino creatives, in the 15 years since civil rights groups challenged major broadcasters to diversify their programming. And, a NALIP/Columbia University report found that between 2010-2013, Latinos made up just 4.1% of TV directors, 1.2% of producers and 1.9% of writers; in movies, 2.3% of movie directors, 2% of producers and 6% of writers, despite representing 17% of the total US population.

"It has been my personal commitment from the beginning for El Rey Network to not only set very high standards for the kind of quality entertainment we provide our viewers, but also to set industry standards and high benchmarks for diversity both in front of and behind the camera," commented Rodriguez. "As a creator of content, I feel an obligation to our community to advocate for inclusivity. This group will creatively approach issues, build a community of like minds and big ideas, advocate for change and work diligently to have our voices heard."

Founding members of the Council include: The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), MANA: A National Latina Organization, The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA), The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and The US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).

The El Rey Diversity Council will specifically provide guidance and leadership to the media and entertainment industry in four key areas: (1) employment/workforce recruitment and retention; procurement; (3) programming; and (4) philanthropy and community Investment.