California is poised to add a diversity requirement to its $330 million tax incentive for film and TV production, as lawmakers seek to use their leverage to make the industry better reflect the state’s demographics.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign a bill, SB 485, that will extend the tax credit through 2030. On Wednesday night, the bill was amended to require productions that receive the credit to set hiring goals that are “broadly reflective of California’s population, in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender.”
Diversity in Hollywood has been a topic of discussion for years, but until recently there were few incentives to promote it. In 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences adopted inclusion standards to be eligible for best picture. A few other states — including Illinois and New Jersey — have added diversity criteria to their film credit programs.
“There comes a point where you can’t just talk about it any more — you have to show action,” said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, one of the key advocates for adding a diversity requirement to California’s film incentive.
California is 40% Latino, 35% white, 16% Asian American, and 6.5% Black, according to the most recent Census estimates. In 2020, the California Film Commission reported that the state’s film and TV workforce — for those whose race or ethnicity could be determined — was 70% white, 17% Latino, 7% Black and 4% Asian American. That data came from projects that received a tax credit from 2015 to 2020.
The report also showed a vast gender disparity, with 75% of film and TV jobs held by men, and 25% held by women. See more at Variety.