LOS ANGELES (AP) — Women and minority directors are losing out on crucial entry-level jobs, according to a Directors Guild of America study released Friday.
Of the 479 first-time directors hired to work on TV series from 2009 to 2014, men represented 82 percent and women 18 percent, the study said. The vast majority of the first-time directors — 87 percent — were white.
"There's a big opportunity here for those in charge of hiring to make a difference, but they're not," DGA President Paris Barclay said in a statement. If women and minority directors fail to get a foothold on the career ladder, he said, "it'll be status quo from here to eternity."
Betty Thomas, the guild's first vice president and co-chair of its diversity task force, said studios and executive producers are making choices that demonstrate "they don't actively support diversity hiring."
"First-time TV directors are new to the game and come from all areas of the industry, including film school. So why is a woman or minority any less qualified than anybody else?" Thomas said in a statement.
Barclay, who is African-American, and Thomas are themselves successful directors. Barclay's credits include TV's "NYPD Blue," "Sons of Anarchy" and "Glee." Thomas, a former actress, has directed films including "Doctor Dolittle" and "28 Days."
The study found varied resumes among first-time directors, with actors making up 18 percent. Others included assistant directors and production managers (10 percent), and cinematographers and camera operators (8 percent). Directors from film, music videos and other genres made up the rest of the group studied.
Criticism of lack of diversity behind and in front of the camera has long dogged the entertainment industry.
Last year, a guild analysis of all 3,500 cable, broadcast and high-budget online shows airing in the 2013-14 season found that the vast majority were directed by white men. The guild said at the time that employers had made no significant improvement in diversity among TV directors over the past four years.