Are Jews Responsible For Lack of Diversity in Hollywood?

''The Hollywood Jews created a powerful cluster of images and ideas - so powerful that, in a sense, they colonized the American imagination.''  Neil Gabler "An Empire of Their Own"

The 2014 Hollywood Diversity Report released this week by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA suggests that the media and entertainment industry is dominated by white men.

The UCLA report finds that only 16.7 percent of film leads, 17.8 percent of film directors, and 11.8 percent of movie writers between 2011 and 2013 were people of color. What the report fails to mention is the obvious fact that most white men dominating Hollywood are Jews.

How dominant are Jews in the American media and entertainment industry? Jewish-American journalist Joel Stein answered this question as follows in a piece he wrote for the Los Angeles Times back in 2008:

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG (Screen Actors Guild) President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.) The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

I think the reason for such absolute Jewish dominance of the entertainment landscape may have something to do with the fact that "Jews Invented Hollywood" when some of the Jewish producers moved from East Coast to sunny Southern California for abundant, cheap, non-union labor. It's a fact that's been well documented in Neal Gabler's "An Empire of Their Own: How The Jews Invented Hollywood".  Gabler summed it up as follows: ''The Hollywood Jews created a powerful cluster of images and ideas - so powerful that, in a sense, they colonized the American imagination.''  The most famous of these "Hollywood Jews" were Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle, William Fox, Harry Cohn and the Warner Brothers. However, I still find it hard to explain how such dominance has been maintained over a century.

In my view, ethnic, racial and gender diversity sought by the authors of the UCLA Diversity report is a good thing. However, I believe diversity of opinion in the mainstream media and entertainment industry is far more important in terms of shaping of public opinion to serve the best interest of people of the United States. Such a diversity of views in the US media would have helped keep this country out of unnecessary costly wars such as the Iraq war in recent years.  That's the kind of diversity we all should be striving for.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on March 1, 2015 at 8:14am

INC: Hollywood's Lack of Diversity Looks a Lot Like Silicon Valley's

In a snapshot that looks an awful lot like Silicon Valley's tech sector, the Hollywood Diversity Report found that minorities in film lagged by more than 2-to-1 in lead roles and by 2-to-1 as directors, with women lagging by 2-to-1 as leads and by an overwhelming 8-to-1 as directors. TV was even worse: Minorities in leading roles on broadcast shows lagged by 6-to-1, while women lagged by more than 50 percent.

Although the report's co-authors, Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramon, admitted that they did not analyze data from 2014-2015, Hollywood hasn't fared much better in recent months, at the least in terms of diversity recognition in film. Look no farther than the overwhelmingly white and male Oscars ballot this year, prompting the Twitter backlash #OscarsSoWhite in the weeks leading up to the awards ceremony. (Director Ava DuVernay was notably snubbed for Selma, which was the first ever feature-length film made about Dr. Martin Luther King. And David Oyelowo, who played King in the movie, was also conspicuously absent from the list of Best Actor nominees.)

So what gives? It's not a lack of consumer demand for diversity. In fact, the study found that broadcast TV casts with 41 to 50 percent minority actors scored the highest ratings in both black and white households. Rather, the issue stems from the agencies, guilds, studios, and networks that do the hiring, according to the report's authors, which they described as "an industry culture that routinely devalues the talent of minorities and women."

Sound familiar? EBay, the most gender-diverse tech company based in Silicon Valley, is composed of 76 percent male workers globally. And in the world of entrepreneurship, only 4.2 percent of women founders receive venture capital, according to the Center for Talent Innovation. On top of that, just 15 percent of minority-owned firms received VC funding in 2013, compared to 22 percent of businesses overall, reported. Hurdles for women in business aren't just financial, either: Sexism in tech is alive and well, if these boneheaded comments are any indication.

The reason executive suites hire so few women and minorities may have to do with the fact that "people have a better eye for talent when it looks like them and has the same background as them," as Time Warner's executive director of diversity and corporate social responsibility told The Hollywood Reporter. And while those recruiting efforts may not be malicious, they do tend to make matters worse (and less diverse). Silicon Valley tech companies reflect a similar tunnel vision when they recruit from the same brand-name schools and startup circles again and again.

When will California's darlings finally make greater strides in hiring casts of characters that finally reflect reality? Not soon enough.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 1, 2015 at 8:52am

Silicon Valley, to my mind, is about equality, empowerment and equal access. Consequently, it's been very disturbing to see technology companies such as Apple and WhatsApp meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while disregarding that his country treats its non-Jewish population like second-class citizens and implements harsh military rule on Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Silicon Valley's model of empowerment and equality couldn't be more different from Israel's technology hub or its practices of technology disenfranchisement for Palestinians. The agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and Netanyahu dangerously ignores the underlying differences and implicitly condones effective technology apartheid.

If Apple CEO Tim Cook were a Palestinian living in Ramallah, he would not be able to use any iPhone applications, including WhatsApp, on the local cell network. Globally, over 2 billion people have 3G access, including Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, but Palestinians are prohibited by Israeli military dictate.

If I want to Skype with a relative, it costs 25 cents per minute, but calling a nearby Israeli settler is only 2.3 cents per minute.

Want to live tweet a photo using 3G? Forget about it. In the West Bank, only Israeli settlers have that privilege.

Starting a company is no easy task for Palestinians. Mobile entrepreneurs? Try building a mobile startup without 3G.

On average, 10 Palestinian structures, including homes, are demolished weekly. A programmer living in Gaza needs to figure out how to work with only a few hours of electricity per day. Twenty-two unarmed Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2013 alone. Amnesty International recently released a report titled "Trigger-happy Israeli army and police use reckless force in the West Bank."

It's time that we put aside all the excuses that support this discrimination and use technology for empowerment, connection and engagement. There's simply no reason that Palestinians should not be afforded the same technology opportunities as their Israeli counterparts.

Silicon Valley leaders missed an important opportunity to use these meetings to insist on equal opportunity and access for all people, including Palestinians committed to developing technology skills and startups like their Israeli counterparts. These business ties should be conditioned on Palestinians having their freedom, equal rights and equal access to technology and the startup opportunities that our industry represents.

Sam Jadallah is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor. He wrote this for

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 5, 2018 at 12:55pm

Slavery and the Jews
A review of The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews: Volume One


Almost as soon as it appeared, in 1991, The Secret Relationship generated a controversy that centered more on its intentions than its scholarship. The noise level was heightened in 1993 by the turmoil that swirled around Professor Tony Martin, of Wellesley College. A tenured professor in Wellesley's Department of Africana Studies, Martin assigned to one of his classes portions of the book, which singles out Jews for special prominence in the Atlantic slave trade and for having played a particularly prominent role in the enslavement of Africans in the Americas. He was accused of anti-Semitism, and wrote a brief book to refute the charges. The title of Martin's book, The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches From the Wellesley Battlefront, gave a clear preview of his opinions. It was a mixture of discussion, factual refutation, and angry recrimination. This last predominated, with paragraphs that opened using language like "To the Jews, and to their favourite Negroes who have insisted on attacking me I say . . ." His views on The Secret Relationship's use of historical materials amounted to a barrage of enthusiastic endorsements. Ironically, Martin's assertion that "Jews were very much in the mainstream of European society as far as the trade in African human beings was concerned" was very close to what many Jewish scholars had claimed some thirty years before.

Martin, in one of his endorsements, made a startling assertion concerning slave ownership by Jews: "Using the research of Jewish historians, the book suggests that based on the 1830 census, Jews actually had a higher per capita slave ownership than for the white population as a whole." The Secret Relationship does in fact approach making that suggestion, and since the claim would appear to be a pivotal one, it is worth examining.

In order to assess such a claim, one must resort to details. Martin's purported actuality is wrong on its face if applied to the "white population" of the United States "as a whole," because in 1830 only a handful of white northerners still owned slaves. Jews were concentrated in the North, and they constituted a very small minority there. Even if the statement is taken as applying only to the states in the American South that had not adopted gradual emancipation laws, it remains badly flawed. A careful and honest footnote in The Secret Relationship reveals that "Jewish scholars" had concluded that Jews in the South lived mostly in towns and cities. Neither this book nor Martin's explains the significance of this fact. In actuality, slave ownership was much more common in southern urban areas than in the southern countryside. The relatively high proportion of Jewish slaveholding was a function of the concentration of Jews in cities and towns, not of their descent or religion. It is also the case that urban slaveholders of whatever background owned fewer slaves on average than rural slaveholders, including those on large plantations. Thus the proportion of slaveholders has never been an accurate measure of the social or economic importance of slaveholding, unless it is assessed on a broadly regional or state-by-state basis. In this instance, as in so many others, the statistical data do not stand up and cry out their own true significance.


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