“You know I’m in!”
Universal Pictures on Tuesday accepted a feminist “challenge” to hire at least one woman film director in the next 1 1/2 year.
The #4PercentChallenge was issued on stage at the Sundance Film Festival last week by Hollywood activist Tessa Thompson, an advocate of the Time’s Up movement against sexual assault in the entertainment industry.
In her speech, Thompson spotlighted a statistic according to which only 4 percent of top-grossing movie productions in the past decade have been directed by women. She called on the industry to, as they say, do better.
“Because only 4% of the top 100 studio films over the last DECADE have been directed by women, #TIMESUP is initiating a challenge, the 4% challenge, and I intend to take it: I commit to working with a female director in the next 18 months.” –@TessaThompson_x #TIMESUPX2 pic.twitter.com/GjsuqeryKj
— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) January 26, 2019
Universal Pictures was the first major studio to answer the call. Peter Kramera, Universal’s president of production, announced in a statement:
Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, led by Donna Langley, just became the first major studio to sign on to the #4PercentChallenge. … We hope their commitment inspires more content producers to make the pledge and work with female directors. Not only have a handful of the studio’s first-look filmmakers already announced their commitment to the 4 percent challenge, many have already demonstrated their support to work with more female directors on an ongoing basis, and the studio will continue to support their efforts.
A number of male actors, including woke comedian and filmmaker Jordan Peele, have also joined the challenge, committing to work with female directors on upcoming projects.
Hollywood has struggled to keep up with the demands of progressive hashtag culture, from #OscarsSoWhite to #MeToo to #TimesUp to #4PercentChallenge.
And demands for “#representation” of various identity groups in the film industry haven’t all gotten their own social media address. Less formally, activists have successfully pushed studios not to hire actors to play characters with marginalized identities that the actors cannot themselves claim, including those of the LGBT rainbow.
Woke productions have in some cases proved lucrative. See last year’s “Black Panther” or 2017’s “Wonder Woman”.
But overall, Hollywood has been in decline. While that has largely been due to greater competition for people’s time, e.g. the internet and video games, much of America also seems to have tired of what it sees as the cultural elites’ self-righteous and self-interested political preaching.