Hollywood entertains the world but is undergoing an explosion of woke

Hollywood entertains the world but is undergoing an explosion of woke. By Peter Klefer.

Those white men who had spent decades writing scripts — which had been turned into blockbuster movies and hit television shows — were no longer getting hired.  …

And then there were the villains: The vast majority — from the Terminator to Hannibal Lecter to Gordon Gekko—were uber-white: an Austrian (robot), a Lithuanian, a WASPy, pinstriped capitalist. …

CBS mandated that writers’ rooms be at least 40 percent black, indigenous and people of color (or BIPOC) for the 2021-2022 broadcast season and 50 percent for the 2022-2023 season. ABC Entertainment issued a detailed series of “inclusion standards.” (“I guarantee you every studio has something like that,” a longtime writer and director said.)  …

But the result has not just been a demographic change. It has been an ideological and cultural transformation. We spoke to more than 25 writers, directors, and producers — all of whom identify as liberal, and all of whom described a pervasive fear of running afoul of the new dogma. This was the case not just among the high command at companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but at every level of production.

How to survive the revolution? By becoming its most ardent supporter. “Best way to defend yourself against the woke is to out-woke everyone, including the woke,” one writer said. Suddenly, every conversation with every agent or head of content started with: Is anyone BIPOC attached to this? …

Sunset for Hollywood

“One-part confused, one-part angry, and 10,000-parts scared”:

“Everyone has gone so underground with their true feelings about things,” said Mike White, the writer and director behind the hit HBO comedy-drama “The White Lotus.” “If you voice things in a certain way it can really have negative repercussions for you, and people can presume that you could be racist, or you could be seen as misogynist.”

Howard Koch, who has been involved in the production of more than 60 movies, including such classics as “Chinatown” and “Marathon Man,” and is the former president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, said: … “I know a lot of very talented people that can’t get work because they’re not black, Native American, female or LGBTQ.”

Another writer, who, like most of the writers we interviewed, was afraid to speak openly for fear of never working again, said: “I get so paranoid about even phone calls. It’s so scary. My close friends and my family are just like, ‘Don’t say anything.’ It is one of those things, ‘Will I be able to sleep at night if I say anything?’ Getting jobs in this town is so hard, and I’m very grateful to have a great job. If there’s any so-called ding on my record, that would just be an argument against hiring me.” …

Trust is gone:

One showrunner, afraid to send his emails to us out of fear of them accidentally winding up on the wrong screen, agreed to show us correspondence with agents, writers, and studio chiefs that capture the new thinking at the highest levels of the Hollywood food chain.

Sitting in his office, in a casita behind his house and next to the pool, we scrolled through the emails on his laptop:

“This one a dead end — they are going to limit search to women and bipoc candidates”

“How tied to hiring him are you? There are some internally that don’t like the idea of hiring a white guy. I wish I had a better way to frame it. Hate this shit.”

“Studio now telling us this job must go to a female / bipoc writer. Sorry — it sucks”

When we wrapped up, the showrunner said: “This is all going to end in a giant class-action lawsuit.” …

The showrunner said that the new politics is making it hard to get work done. He added that Human Resources departments at the studios and streaming services are awash in complaints directed at white, male showrunners just for doing their job. “It’s gotten to the point where I won’t give notes on a script any longer to a woman or person of color.” …

Corrupted by woke nastiness:

The writers’ room is supposed to be smart, funny, nasty, a little bawdy, the kind of place where people can make jokes and riff and wonder aloud and vomit out ideas that might become an unforgettable scene. Another showrunner in his mid-fifties (white, male, unfortunately) said: “You’re not allowed to pick your staff anymore, and studios won’t let you interview anybody who isn’t a person of color.”

He added that the culture of documenting even the slightest of slights makes him anxious. “I’m sitting in a room trying to run a show with a collection of people I don’t totally trust.”

Entertainment is suffering, the audience is walking away:

The politicization of content production, creatives said, was going to be the industry’s death knell. “Especially this past year, ideology has become more important than art,” Quentin Tarantino said in June on Bill Maher’s show. “It’s like ideology trumps art. Ideology trumps individual effort. Ideology trumps good.” …

There was a feeling, among those who didn’t hew to the new orthodoxy, that it was becoming harder not only for certain people to find work but for a certain kind of content — ballsier, more provocative — to get made.

They were scared of what was happening. The fear, one prominent director said in an email, is “the audience stops trusting us. They begin to see us as a community twisting ourselves into a pretzel to make every movie as woke as possible, every relationship mixed racially, every character sexually fluid, and they decide that we are telling stories set in a fantasyland instead of a world they know and live in. If that happens, and they decide to throw themselves instead into video games 24/7, we will lose them.”

Movies and shows that were once widely acclaimed but are now verboten, writers and directors said, included “Blazing Saddles,” even though it was co-written by Richard Pryor; “The Bad News Bears,” even though it featured a multiracial cast; “Tootsie,” because transgender activists; and “Rocky” (“bad guy CANNOT be black,” a director explained in an email). Nor would “The Wizard of Oz” get greenlit. (“The munchkins? Forget it,” the director said). Nor would “All in the Family,” probably the most influential show of the 1970s. (“Archie Bunker” — the main character — “is basically a Trump voter,” a producer explained.) …

Give us your money, white men:

Kevin Parker, a black talent manager at Artists First, said the skeptics miss the point. “This whole diversity thing—it’s about money,” Parker said. …

For years, the real money in Hollywood came from the television channels that broadcast reruns and old movies; residuals meant creatives were paid handsomely. But with the rise of Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services, that model collapsed. And the vast majority of creatives had to make do with less.

Now, most people in the industry do not earn enough to support a family of four in Los Angeles. As money has gotten tighter, people have gotten angrier, and things have gotten uglier. “I’d say all that probably expedited the radicalization,” a longtime Hollywood creative said of the shifting marketplace.

Mike White said that it is a lot easier for Hollywood to talk about race than class.

Hollywood output is now as boring as the British BBC and Australian ABC, which became 24/7 PC woke propaganda a decade or two ago.