thr_roundtable_2016 thr_roundtable_2016

The Internet Is Disgusted By This Roundtable with Feature Animation Directors

Today, The Hollywood Reporter published its annual animation directors’ roundtable, and while this Oscar contenders roundtable isn’t formatted differently from year’s past, the reaction on the Internet has been very different.

The distaste for this year’s roundtable has much to do with THR’s decision to interview seven white male filmmakers, and then structure significant parts of the discussion around issues of representation, feminism, and cultural sensitivity. The video is entitled: “Animation Roundtable: Seth Rogen and 6 More on Avoiding Ethnic Stereotypes and Creating Princesses Who Don’t Wear Uncomfortable Shoes.”

Now, it has to be pointed out that the only non-white, non-male director of a major American animated release this year was Jennifer Yuh, who co-directed (with a white male, of course) Kung Fu Panda 3. In other words, if American animation studios almost exclusively hire white males to direct animated features, then you can’t blame THR for who they chose to interview. (Variety published a similar roundtable and they switched out two of the white males for two other white males.)

No matter, the reaction on Twitter has been loud and vocal, with numerous industry artists joining the chorus of disapproval:

Even Sausage Party writer Seth Rogen, who participated in the roundtable, has acknowledged the silliness of asking seven white gentleman about their takes on ethnic stereotypes and sexism:

About the roundtable, The Mary Sue offered this take:

Asking “Are you conscious of running the risk that some group could take offense?” and “Were you surprised?” to Musker and Rogen about backlash puts the focus on the creators’ feelings or some abstract angry internet commentator rather than the very real damage that careless and stereotypical representation cause. Maybe it’s time to replace “How can I tell this story in the best way?” with “Am I the best person to tell this story?”

Don’t expect such questions to be asked anytime soon though because if there’s one thing that movie studios like more than diversity, it’s making money, and the simple math is that putting white men in charge makes them piles of money. Animation, in fact, is currently having its strongest year ever at the box office. As long as studios are rolling in piles of your money, they have little incentive to increase diversity.

The sadder reality is that Hollywood actually believes it’s doing a better job at inclusiveness than before. In one exchange, Moana co-director John Musker explained how Disney pays lip service to authenticity by forcing their directors to do more research than it did in the past. Such research is apparently a new concept in Hollywood, even for Musker and other contemporary directors:

John Musker: Our development people arranged a really deep dive into the culture where it wasn’t tiki bars and that sort of thing. We met with anthropologists and archaeologists and linguists and cultural ambassadors. The challenge in our movie then was as we went forward, we kept those people involved, because we really wanted to be faithful to the culture and yet make a movie that hopefully would entertain people around the world that don’t know that stuff. It has to work as a movie on its own, but it was sort of an added challenge on this movie…I know, like when we did Aladdin, you talk about the research. It was during the first Gulf war, so our research, we went to the L.A. Convention Center. There was a Saudi Arabian expo. And that’s a true story…that’s as much as we [did]…

Mark Osborne: For Kung Fu Panda, we just Googled China.

There’s a similar tone-deafness to many of the questions and answers in the interview, like when Zootopia director Byron Howard explains that they interviewed women cops to help inform the development of Judy Hopps, or Trolls director Mike Mitchell talking about the progressiveness of not having a female lead wear shoes.

At the end of the day, I think the issue is far more nuanced than simply who should and shouldn’t be allowed to tell certain kinds of stories. There’s nothing wrong with John Musker and Ron Clements making a film about a culture different than their own, and there’s nothing wrong with Seth Rogen making an animated film that uses ethnic stereotypes for comedy. The issue really isn’t that they’re making these kinds of animated films at major American animation studios; the issue is that they’re the only people who are allowed to make animated features at these studios. (White males have made well over 95% of all the animated features in American film history.)

What rubs many people the wrong way is to see how Hollywood animated features are addressing issues of inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance more than ever before, yet the directorial ranks remain largely homogeneous and resistant to the very themes that the films are exploring. As long as Hollywood says one thing and does another, it’ll be hard to view a lot of these films as anything more than cynical corporate cashgrabs.

The whole roundtable, with Byron Howard (Zootopia), Garth Jennings (Sing), Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), Mike Mitchell (Trolls), Seth Rogen (Sausage Party), John Musker (Moana), and Mark Osborne (The Little Prince), can be viewed below.

  • Memorian

    i said this somewhere else, I’ll say it again. They seriously couldn’t have Jennifer Yuh Nelson here? Kung Fu Panda 3 came out this year, was well received and made over $500mill. I know it hasn’t been mentioned in awards circles after the onslaught of great animated film we’ve had this year since but come on?

  • Lori

    What’s really frustrating about this headline and feature is that it’s coming on the tails of the Motionographer piece about the gender gap in the industry. So you’ve got a really thoughtful piece on the daily realities of the uphill battle that is being a woman/minority in the industry and this really thumbs your nose in it. Applaud us because we’re discussing diversity and stereotypes, by having absolutely no diversity in our panel. Would it really have been impossible to include Jennifer Yuh here? At least you have had the vaguest impression of making an effort then.

  • Karl Hungus

    You can absolutely blame THR for who they chose to interview. They are the curators of the news they choose to report. They don’t HAVE to equate the most money made this year with the best directors. Many movies make more money over time. Many movies are intrinsically better films than one that were more successful. If The Hollywood Reporter wants to ask about inclusiveness, then they shouldn’t be so lazy as to avoid inclusiveness when they want opinions on the medium. How varied did they think the opinions would be with that crew? Was this a hit piece?
    Did they intentionally assemble these white men and put their thumb down on them about inclusiveness on a panel that they were invited to? And leave it to twitter to attack the people invited to the panel because they’re white men. Why not attack who hired them.

  • Conor Murnane

    On the one hand, it is rather silly to hold a discussion on racism and sexism without a single woman or ethnic person being involved. It doesn’t hurt to include some variety in that regard…..buuuuut, on the other hand, I feel like all the outrage this discussion has generated is pretty knee-jerk and reactionary.

    People should always be allowed to speak out against injustice and stand up for their rights, but judging from the tone of these Twitter posts, it seems as though 90% of these complaints are from those who see “white males” and “regressive pigs” as synonymous, people who like to find one wrong thing with a situation and endlessly harp on it.

    I certainly can’t blame any of the directors featured in the roundtable, they are all terrific, unique artists with a lot to say. Just because they aren’t minorities doesn’t mean their opinions are invalid. I will agree, though, that the problem is just another aspect of the Hollywood system and a desire for everything to remain the same. If they did hire more female/racial directors, then nobody would be complaining so much.

    But really, in the end of it all, I wish that everybody would stop getting caught up in the endless arguments of whether or not it’s better for a certain kind of person to tell a specific type of story and just WATCH THE DAMN MOVIES ALREADY. Not everything needs to be twisted into a damned political discussion, some things are just made for entertainment, nothing more.

    We live in an age where prejudice and intolerance are at an all-time high and, conversely, an age where just about anything anybody says can somehow be construed as offensive or hurtful, even if it’s not intended. I personally believe that if we all stopped trying to both attack AND pander to each other, we would all live a lot more peacefully.

    I don’t expect everyone here to agree with me, of course. Just wanted to get my thoughts out there while they were still fresh. I’m welcome to hearing any and all counter-arguments.

  • Fried

    I’m more offended that the article headlines it as “Seth Rogen ‘and others'”.

  • Too Many Cooks

    I agree that we need greater cultural diversity in Hollywood, but I also think that Hollywood is lacking in ideological diversity. That’s probably how The Mary Sue likes it, though.

    • AP

      “Ideological diversity”, huh? I can only guess what you mean by that.

  • Troy

    I like the points about people being able to speak out on their view and I personally feel they do have at least some merits of having a discussion. I do have to point out about this:

    “If they did hire more female/racial directors, then nobody would be complaining so much.”

    If they put one like the mentioned Jennifer Yuh, then the internet will decried why isn’t there more racial/female. If they put 2-3 racial male, one of the directors here and her: Why isn’t there more women? Place 3-4 racial female and one lone white female: Why is she there? Throw a newcomer that happens to look white and is born from another country with 4 diverse women? Is that person from America? Get more people from foreign countries that isn’t contracted by the US. I could list on the different combination, but the point is everyone has the opportunity to speak on the issues that denies others the opportunity to speak, but that does not represent either side. What it does state is the merit of the person’s opinion as an individual, not an outcast target for the world.

    *I have not seen the discussion in question nor the understanding of how this impacts me as an individual. I do accept the obvious flaw, but I don’t value arguments that insists on attacking a person’s statement without hearing both sides of how they interpret a statement.

  • MEH!

    Dudes!!! The Zootopia team flew to AFRICA!!! To research ANIMALS, for a movie that supposedly addresses RACISM!!! Is life weird or what!

  • Bob

    Maybe we shouldnt care about all of this and instead be concerned with telling good stories

    • AmidAmidi

      “All of this” IS concerned with telling good stories.

    • Netko

      Implying that everything is fair as it is because clearly only white men are adept at storytelling and directing. A funny thing to say considering how bland and subpar most animated features and series are.

  • Renard N. Bansale

    Makoto Shinkai (Your Name), Keiichi Hara (Miss Hokusai), Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 3), Claude Barras (My Life Is A Zucchini), and Michaël Dudok de Wit (The Red Turtle) should’ve all been considered for the roundtable.

  • Brian

    Couldn’t this article itself be considered some male author trying to discuss the issues of diversity and women leads in Hollywood? Should I ignore everything you say and just go, “Some MAN is trying to discuss the nuances about the lack of proper female representation in animation!”?

    • jawsnnn

      That’s exactly what happens on most online blogs these days. I read a blog on medium (about lack of female lgbtq characters on CN) that started with the warning that the author had absolutely no interest in hearing any comments on the article if you were a straight or cisgendered male.

  • Karl Hungus

    SO WHAT?
    There are 7 movies listed there. 5 of them are produced by women. On top of that, many are written by women.
    How much do you think a producer for a feature film pulls down compared to a director? How much power do you think a producer has compared to a director.
    So in the majority of these films, women have more power and make more money than the men directing them(and probably work less hours). And definitely have better job stability.
    Thanks for playing. Can we move on to the next contrived controversy now? There is no patriarchy here. For crying out loud, don’t the producer’s HIRE the directors? Let me check… Yeah, they do.
    Direct the rest of your questions to Amy Pascal. The rest of us men in this industry are working so hard just trying to provide for our families that even if we wanted to, we wouldn’t even have the time to have a bias towards women.

    • Kit

      I actually agree with you. There are a lot of women producers and they tend to like working with white male directors as a counterpoint to themselves.

      There is a silent machine at work-
      Young men and women are hired out of art school as story artists.
      Out of simple survival these new male artists are happy to go to lunch and hang out with the older more established guys. These men form an iron clad circle of friends that they request to work with, are given the best scenes to board, and are promoted in the studio. The women brought in tend to hang together. As older women artists tend not to exist at the studios or if there is they see themselves as an unique exotic island- so women are left to fend for themselves unaware that their male counterparts are on the fast track.

      Producers play simpletons. They don’t look past the exciting fortress of men “coming up” to all the scattered women surrounding them. So I agree they are in part to blame. I find it somewhat mean spirited to see women producers at diversity panels wondering along with the moderators- where are the women? I have seen these diversity panels as a way of producers to promote themselves, so their interest in the topic of women inclusion looks to be a false front, or at best a simple unawareness of the male protectionist scheme at work within story teams.

      • KungFuQueen

        Yes– this.

      • Karl Hungus

        Also, stay at home mothers are on the rise. Its a proven statistic and i refuse to judge these women on their decision about their lives. But when 43% of women in the workforce leave to raise children at home, it has an effect on the numbers. Don’t like it? Its a free country.

        • Kit

          Women become mothers and men become fathers- and it often works well for one of them to stay at home rather than try to hand it off to an expensive someone else. It is true that as artists reach maturity in the studio it also is around the same time they want children. Having children is not a studio’s curse- it allows for some excellent storytelling material and a deeper understanding of the world- if the studio’s harness it.

          The problem is this-
          Studios hire young out of school women as a matter of course. They go through an internship and then follow a well worn path into the studio. When they take time away for children however, it is treated as a farewell- and the door tends to remain closed on them because they have revealed that they aren’t just a cute girl- they are a mother!

          Animation male artists pride themselves on their Peter Pan extended childhood and so do the females- but when they become a mother who might be breastfeeding- that playful world can get awkward.

          So yes, that’s right. Women become mothers and to ignore the on-ramps and off ramps of life is to deny artists their humanity and yes, it absolutely affects the numbers if the door is closed after a long time away. Older women should be courted by the studios- they have worked, had children, and can now laugh about it all.

          • Karl Hungus

            Very true. Excellent post.

    • ValjeanLafitte

      I mean, sure, but it wasn’t a roundtable of producers and writers, was it? For better or worse, people do tend to give more credit to directors for the creative direction of films. Everyone knows Steven Spielberg, but are Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall household names? They absolutely should be, but all the same you shouldn’t be surprised when the spotlight goes on directors rather than writers and producers.

  • slowtiger

    So it’s a Directors of North American Feature Animation round table. No South America. No Europe, no China. I couldn’t be less interested in what they have to say about their small part of the world, they are much less important than they or THR thinks. It’s a boy’s club making lots of money for the other boy’s club (producers, companies, banks), so what? Do I really expect them to have any expertise about, what was that, feminism and cultural diversity? THOSE guys?

    Cultural or political relevance isn’t measured in millions of dollars. As long as they still sell plush toys of their characters, as long I’m not interested in any of their director’s limited view of the world.

    • Matthew

      And not just a boys’ club, a straight boys’ club. Where was Andreas Deja or another openly gay or lesbian member of the animation community? You wanna talk representation on and off the screen, that alone could justify its own panel.

      • AP

        Lol, now that’s just totally wrong. Byron Howard is gay.

      • Fried

        Byron Howard is gay, and he was at the round table. So go ahead and check that requirement off your diversity list.

  • jawsnnn

    …Maybe it’s time to replace “How can I tell this story in the best way?” with “Am I the best person to tell this story?”…

    I agree that sexism exists in Hollywood. I agree that animation industry is particularly lacking in diversity. I agree that this is a bad situation and does not look good and a lot needs to be done to fix it. But the statement above is everything that’s squarely wrong with the debate this side. Put the focus away from giving talent a chance to taking chances away from people with ideas because they are not the right color is fighting racism with racism.period.

    Then again this is The Mary Sue which – for some reason – is being quoted here.

  • Jones

    …Maybe it’s time to replace “How can I tell this story in the best way?” with “Am I the best person to tell this story?”…
    Just when I thought that i had read it all, that no nonsense in the world could shock me anymore…
    Yes, and maybe it´s time we set up a police force to make sure that storytellers and stories match exactly in terms of background, skin colour, and sex.
    Because that is the task of any good author – to tell stories that exactly reflect his or her own daily life. If you are an Irish writer with bad eyesight, do not attempt to write about a mythological greek hero. Do not write about life on distant moons if you are not even blue. Do not make a movie about a bomb squad if you are a women who has not served a single day in the armed forces.
    Jesus, how I miss the days when the internet was only for porn…

  • AP

    Here’s an idea.

    Don’t just interview directors.

    Have Josie Trinidad on. Or Erica Rivinoja or Irena Brignull,

  • Josh Evans

    It’s so disappointing.

  • Jackson Pollock

    There is too much complaining about these white dudes, and not enough, “you know what, time to stop relying on pixar/disney HOLLYWOOD to make my stories and dream come true” People need to wake up and just start doing the stories they want to do. Stop relying on hollywood to play nice with you. You want inclusion, fairness, well told, versatile and diverse stories, you are going to need to build your OWN playground. Build your own brand. Build YOU. John Lasseter ain’t gonna be the answer people. Let’s move on and get some action going. I am sure these guys are hurt by some of the comments these people are saying about them by sole merit of their gender or skin color. It’s the work people. The work that counts. We’re ALL artists here, are we not? That’s what should be the focus for everything. If you are so against white dudes making animated films…..then please….just stop going to their movies and giving the movies money. Don’t be hypocrites unless you are going to the movies to learn from their mistakes, taking notes and names, and learning how to make a better movie for the industry’s future. In the end, we all want good animation, engaging and well told diverse stories. Let’s stop tearing each other apart over and get building the future we ALL want. TOGETHER.

  • Fried

    Yeah, seriously. “Old repressive days of the 9 Old Men”? Seriously? Are we channeling our anger towards the original masters now?

    • ValjeanLafitte

      It’s especially disheartening that the person who wrote that tweet is directing the new DuckTales.

    • Netko

      Uh, because those days were repressive? Are you seriously going to argue they weren’t just because it’s not something you want to hear?

      And just because someone might be considered an idol doesn’t justify denying their flaws, even if they were a product of the times. The tweet you’re quoting was referring specifically to the times which were repressive, rather than 9 Old Men as individuals, nevertheless you really need a lesson in objectivity and a healthy dose of reality if you think “original masters” are above criticism solely because of their achievements.

      • Fried

        You’re justifying misplaced hate and poor communication. There were various ways to word the same idea, but better and without disregarding any skill and impact the original masters had because they were a product of their time.

        “The old repressive days of 1930’s Hollywood” would have been a far better way to voice that opinion without blaming someone else who is blameless in the scenario. The nine old men didn’t keep women down, the system did. Do you think they should have refused work during their time in protest for women at the time? Do you think everyone who gets hired thanks to “the system” deserves equal blame for what happens to others?

        Why exactly are you justifying such a poor train of thought? Do you also think the directors in this round table deserve to be pissed on rather than the THR or the people who put them into power in the first place?

        • Netko

          “without disregarding any skill and impact the original masters had” Who is disregarding their skill? Who even mentioned their skills and their work even? And better yet, how does mentioning the fact that someone was sexist negate their achievements?
          Are you one of those people who reject the claims that Bill Cosby could ever be rapist solely because you liked his show? I am assuming you’re an adult, in which case you really should already have a mind that’s developed enough to accept the value of someone’s work without having to defend and deny their toxic personal attitudes. If we justified things by saying that everyone else is doing it, nothing would ever get better.

          “The old repressive days of 1930’s Hollywood” This whole discussion is specifically about animation, not Hollywood.

          It is a simple and undeniable fact that the days of the 9 Old Men were repressive and I imagine also the 9 Old Men themselves (I don’t know much about them, but you seem to justify them by saying they’re the product of their time so I guess you know they were). You did nothing to disprove this because you know it’s true, you just wrote that a tweet calling out the rampant misogyny from the days of 9 Old Men is an offence and a negation of their work. Great logic there. And you dare call a tweet stating the undeniable state of the industry in the past a “poor train of thought”.

          Saying “but everyone else was a misogynist” doesn’t for a second make it better. These are the men who played a huge part in making this industry into what it is today, with all the good and the bad in it. The industry with the skewed gender and racial ratio many people keep justifying as being a result of some innate white male superiority, rather than decades of very real and tangible bias that they so easily pretend never existed because otherwise it’s an “offence” towards the work of the old masters. How about this, how about saying that being misogynist and racist is an offence against all those women and minorities who had to deal with their shit?

          So yes, the days of the 9 Old Men and the 9 Old Men were repressive and this needs to be repeated again and again and again because clearly people like you are ready to forget it in a second. I know that to you misogyny and racism might not seem like a big deal and are just something you can forget about when it interferes with your fanboying, but for people who still feel the consequences of it, yes, it is a big deal.

          • Fried

            If you want to go ahead and spout that ignorant opinion out in the open without regarding how stupid it is to phrase that in such a way when there’s many, many better options, including saying, “Repressive Days of old Disney Company”, then go ahead. There’s no stopping you. If you think for a moment that the 9 Old Men were the face of Disney during their prime and not that Disney took all their credit and was the one actually in charge, and even then, was still one of the few businessmen who even took a chance later down the line, then go ahead and channel all the blame into the Nine Old Men as if they were the ones with hiring power.

            While you’re at it, you should go ahead and insult Pixar’s Think Tank for being sexist and say you can’t wait until the days of Pete Doctor and Brad Bird are over. Or that hopefully modern Disney will switch over from its sexist mindset and the days of Glen Keane, Andreas Dejas, and Eric Goldberg will soon be long behind us.

            If you can’t understand how stupid you sound to actually endorse the phrase “Repressive Days of the 9 Old Men” as if they were the ones in power and not just underlings of Disney, then be free. Because it’s obvious you REALLY want to channel any anger you have to literally any white man you steps in your path without consideration of their actual power.

    • Rodrigo

      This is how you get Trump. :)

  • Elsi Pote

    Where there is a will, there is a way for Seth Rogen to squeeze in.

    Looking at things with some perspective, I realize we are going backwards in the field of enterteinment, we went from the Dalis, Walts and Carsons to the Rogens, Fallons and McFarlanes.

    And having a bunch of white males with the portraits and the connections is like looking at 1st world reporters trying to talk about hunger and slavery.

    But this is the world as we know it, and it’s about to get weirder I tell you.

  • Digimation Artist

    Cartoon Brew – Thank you for your article and for giving attention to this troublesome issue!

    September 2016 USC gave a scathing report of ethnic and gender inequality in live-action Hollywood. This was both in front of and behind the screen. So in light of observable systemic inequality within the entertainment industry, how does animation REALLY fare?

    The USC study researched internalized discrimination, resulting in favoritism & inequality. This results in negative affects on career opportunities, professional advancements and in creative content, where ethnicities and women were represented in secondary roles.

    One of the great qualities within the animation industry is the economy of efforts from the multicultural mix. Today’s content of kids programming and features showcase multiethnic casts of characters, which are different from a more homogenous yesteryear. The major trades showcase a plethora of multicultural animated shorts, shows and movies from almost all continents, which is very educational & healthy in its exposure.

    However, within the studios, there seems to be an advancement trend as to who gets promoted to senior positions as the major trades of animation report. These advancements to chief creative officers, development presidents, creative affairs executives, senior VPs, show runners and creative producers are almost always HOMOGENOUS. This occurrence is continuous. Next to qualifications, social capital and group based dynamics play into professional advancements.

    In regard to creative content, televised animated programs showcase ethnically diverse casts BUT maintain a hierarchal structure where ethnic minorities are most of the time secondary characters. Unintentionally, it is a devaluation of people.

    To be fair, significant strides have been made content-wise, but the percentage of properties with multiethnic leads/ PoC are small in contrast to the library of animated programs & features.

    So… how is the animation industry really faring in this regard? Is there a respectable research firm that can study diversity and equal opportunity within the animation industry? What do the numbers bear out? Awareness and analysis (blogging) is the first step. Viable and workable solutions are the next.

    I get the impression that the interviewees had the best intentions in mind – giving the benefit of the doubt… However, many PoC within the industry don’t have the luxury of leaving the subject of race or gender, when the interview is over.

  • At least they’re talking about it instead of sweeping it under a rug like it’s a non-issue. It’s like how Patrick Stewart says he’s an advocate for women’s rights because he’s an old white man & is
    taken seriously. It’s not ideal but it’s a first step. Plus it’s not all about the director alone when the artists down the ladder contribute so much to the film. In the interview, Byron Howard said he hopes more diverse directors get into animation. More stories with diverse & researched characters is still a positive development no matter who directs. Creating a character of a different culture than your own is a great way to learn & come together. But yeah hopefully soon the round tables will have more variety too.

    …Also that line about John Musker saying he was “forced” to do research was taken out of context a bit, he was making a sarcastic joke about getting the opportunity to visit the beautiful Pacific Islands. Still a positive thing that they learned to research more carefully.

  • Troy

    Just to clear up an apparent misunderstanding, I was replying to a guy earlier with that quote but unfortunately it did not properly link up for some reason (probably got deleted or something). Also care to explain how no one understands meritocracy in a industry where veteran animators have no dignified weight on the direction it is going?

  • KungFuQueen

    This HR article wouldn’t be that big of an issue if the roundtable had discussed anything other than diversity. There’s the rub.

  • Too Many Cooks

    Hey-hey, you actually figured out what I meant! And here I thought my sugar-coating obscured my meaning.

    Anyway, the notion that openly right-wing creators are incapable of producing material that isn’t right-wing propaganda is absurd. By that logic, openly left-wing creators are incapable of producing material that isn’t left-wing propaganda. This notion, along with the stereotype that right-wingers aren’t as creative as left-wingers, makes it easier for people to dismiss accusations of a blacklist. If you pay attention, though, you’ll notice that all openly right-wing entertainers either came out when they were too famous and successful when they were blacklisted, came out when they were getting old and their career was winding down, or aren’t getting work anymore.

    Butch Hartman can come out as right-wing and not be blacklisted because he’s one of Nickelodeon’s most important creators. Sam Hyde came out as right-wing and got blacklisted because his show was only one season in, though said season did get good ratings by Adult Swim standards.

  • Just_Saying

    Looks like birds shit all over these guys…just saying.

  • What is still bothersome is that we still have the animation studios to look at AFTER THR. They are still keeping diversity out when it comes to directing films at these studios, and it will be a repeat for next year, but just a different THR topic for that sit down.

    I agree with others that the title and the kind of topics here presently was done terribly, but after this, it will be the same thing over again – unless we put more demands and notice to DIsney, Illumination Entertainment, and other big named studios who continue to just only have white male directors.

  • Barrett

    “At the end of the day, I think the issue is far more nuanced than simply who should and shouldn’t be allowed to tell certain kinds of stories. There’s nothing wrong with John Musker and Ron Clements making a film about a culture different than their own, and there’s nothing wrong with Seth Rogen making an animated film that uses ethnic stereotypes for comedy.”

    That “nuance” is indeed needed, but I think it gets missed by some of the more activist voices. For many of the people complaining about these kinds of issues, they DO think there’s something inherently “wrong” with old white men making a movie about a Pacific Islander girl, or for anyone to make a movie that has un-PC fun with ethnic stereotype comedy.

    I think the latter argument is debatable, and comes down to a matter of underlying intent by the creators. The former is a dangerous idea that has sadly gained traction in some circles in recent years – the idea that if anyone (primarily a white person) creates art, music, or even stories focused on people outside of their culture or ethnicity, they are guilty of the “crime” or “cultural appropriation.” That to me is a kind of cultural “purity test” mindset, a view that treats white interest in other peoples’ culture as a kind of cultural miscegenation. Human beings have been borrowing loanwords, artistic styles, and technological developments from one another since prehistoric times.

    I understand the idea of resentment toward white people, especially white males, and the western cultural view that they are the “default” culture. It’s like when Rev. Lovejoy said to Homer, while standing with Krusty and Apu, that God “was working in the hearts of your friends be they Christian, Jew, or… miscellaneous.” Nobody wants to me “miscellaneous” in the eyes of others, especially the majority race/culture of the country they live in. But this defense via denial of permission to ever “sample from” other cultures or risk being labeled a bigot is an irrational overreaction.

  • Too Many Cooks

    I’ve never seen Sam personally express those ideas. He’s definitely retweeted some people who’ve expressed them, but he said something about this in his interview with The Observer that really spoke to me.

    “Even if I were to say that Hitler salutes are terrible and you should
    never do them, they would still want to ruin me and crush my head in.
    There’s no way to appease them or keep them at bay while you have any
    sort of ideology that’s right of center. It’s all the same to them. At the same time, nobody to the left of center has disavowed, say,
    the Weather Underground. I don’t blame them for not disavowing the
    people who say that we should kill cops. What they’re doing is
    presenting a unified front. They’re not fracturing their attack power by
    disavowing bad apples. They’re saying, ‘Oh, you have a problem with our
    extreme leftists? [CENSORED] you, that’s not for us to explain.'”

    It’s possible that I’m being too lenient with Sam. Before all this drama happened, I already had strong desire to see more conservative artists and entertainers, as well as a belief that there was a blacklist against them. It’s nearly impossible to be objective when dealing with issues that one has an emotional stake in.

    But on a positive note, the fact that you’re willing to differentiate between conservatives and Neo-Nazis is a step in the right direction. There are a lot of people who think conservatives are literally, or at least equivalent to Neo-Nazis. I’m glad you’re not one of them, random internet commenter.