In the Fight to Diversify Hollywood, We Need to Stop Ignoring Assistants
Art Business

In the Fight to Diversify Hollywood, We Need to Stop Ignoring Assistants

The entertainment industry thrives on unpaid and underpaid workers using the law of supply and demand to justify unfair compensation. By Adriana Gomez-Weston David Rensin’s “ The Mailroom: Hollywood History From the Bottom Up ” is considered the Bible of entry-level Hollywood, its message is peddled as the gospel for anyone who wants to break into the industry. Its core philosophy is that “everyone has to start somewhere.” The book romanticizes the “American Dream,” and weaves together plenty of rags to riches tales from many of today’s power players. For generations, Hollywood mailrooms have paved the way for agents, producers, managers, and even media titans. “The Mailroom” wants readers to believe that anyone can rise from the bottom. In some cases, this is true. However, page nine of Rensin’s book exposes a more brutal truth about who is allowed to succeed thanks to a statement from director Larry Auerbach: “ They’ll kick me in the ass for saying this, but the truth is that the reason a college degree became important was not to have to accept every minority applicant. ” In the quest to diversify the entertainment industry, entry-level workers are often overlooked by the trades and public […]

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