Dwayne Johnson accounts for a third of most API movie leads because study finds sad statistics


Asian plus Pacific Islander representation within Hollywood movies is still abysmal, according to a new report launched Tuesday.

To arrive during Asian American plus Pacific Islander Heritage Month and amid a rise inside anti-Asian racism and violence , the brand new study examined 1, three hundred top-grossing movies from 3 years ago to 2019 for API representation in onscreen plus behind-the-camera roles, as well as one of the executive ranks in best Hollywood film companies. It also reviewed the top 100 movies of 2019 for an evaluation of how API characters had been portrayed, including the prevailing tropes and stereotypes of their depiction.

Among the outlined findings: Only 44 of the 1, 300 films examined featured API lead or co-lead characters driving the story. And nearly 40% from the films reviewed had no API representation at all.

This means just 3. 4% of the top-grossing movies in 13 many years featured at least one API protagonist in a prominent role. These types of characters were portrayed by 22 individual actors, including Dwayne Johnson, who is credited in 14 of the forty-four films.


Just 6 of the API lead/co-lead protagonists in these films were ladies — played by four individual actors — plus none were women over the age of 40. Additionally , none of the particular API lead/co-lead characters was LGBTQ.

When Asian representation and Pacific cycles Islander representation were examined separately, 40. 2% associated with films failed to include still one speaking or named Asian character, while Pacific cycles Islanders were absent inside 94. 2% of the movies.

“People usually ask me whether representations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are enhancing, ” sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen, one of the report’s guide authors, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, when representation appears to be tokenism, Hollywood is doing the particular bare minimum for inclusion. In 2019, 30% of API primary and secondary character types were either [the only one] or interacted with no other API characters onscreen. We need to see more than one API character onscreen interacting with each other in meaningful ways. ”

The study, named “ The Frequency and Portrayal of Oriental and Pacific Islanders Across 1, 300 Popular Movies , ” is a collaboration between Yuen, USC correlate professor Stacy L. Jones and the university’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative , which frequently calls out there Hollywood’s disadvantages when it comes to comprehensive representation.

The report also provided context to highlight just how damning the findings are.

For example , in the same 13-year period exactly where only 22 API stars were featured in notable roles in top films, there were 336 white man actors driving the story lines as lead/co-leads. According to the research, white male actors called Ben, Chris, Daniel, James, Jason, John, Josh, Erina, Robert, Sean or Dan were more likely to be drawn on to play a lead/co-lead inside a Hollywood movie than any kind of API woman.


A lot more broadly, of the 51, 159 speaking characters featured within the 1, 300 films reviewed, only 5. 9% had been Asian, Asian American or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, which falls short of the percentage of the U. S. inhabitants that identifies as API (7. 1%). Among these characters, 94. 6% had been Asian/Asian American, while just 5. 9% were Local Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

Looking at individual films, 876 of the 1, 300 films reviewed fell below proportional representation of the API community compared to census figures, significance 67. 4% of movies in the 13-year period showcased fewer API characters compared to is representative of the Oughout. S. population.

Beyond the presence of API characters in films, the study examined the quality of API roles in the top movies from 2019 and found that Hollywood continues to perpetuate harmful stereotypes. When API characters are certainly not silenced, they tend to be tokenized, isolated, stereotyped or relegated to sidekicks and evil doers. Among the prevailing API stereotypes are portrayals of these personas as “perpetual foreigners” with exaggerated accents or as expendable. The report also found API women in The movies films are still hypersexualized, as well as the industry’s history of emasculating API men continues.

“These findings offer more evidence that the epidemic associated with invisibility continues to persist with serious consequences, ” Cruz said in a statement. “Mass media is one factor that can contribute to aggression towards this particular community. When portrayals erase, dehumanize, or otherwise demean the API community, the consequences can be dire. Without intention plus intervention, the trends we observed will continue. ”


In addition to onscreen rendering, the study found a lack of API representation in behind-the-camera assignments. Of the 1, 300 films that were reviewed, only 3. 5% of directors, second . 5% of producers and 3. 3% of sending your line directors were API. The report also examined the leadership across eight film and streaming companies and found 6. 4% of most executives were from the API community (although none had been in the top positions).

The study concluded along with suggestions on actionable ways that can be taken to improve API representation in Hollywood, beginning with casting more API actors, moving toward more genuine portrayals of API individuals, hiring more API storytellers, supporting nonprofits and the API talent pipeline, elevating API voices and A-list talent moving beyond performative allyship.

Read the full report and recommendations here .