Closing The Gap

A more diverse new Hollywood power list highlights a shift in industry leadership

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Photo courtesy of Getty

This morning, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) released its list of "The Most Powerful People in Entertainment," highlighting a shift in some of the industry's top leaders following the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.

Those gone from this year's list include former CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, filmmaker and former chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios John Lasseter, former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price, former ESPN president John Skipper and director and producer Brett Ratner. All five of these men have been accused of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior within the past year, and were either forced to step down or fired from their roles.

Producer Harvey Weinstein, whose numerous alleged incidents of sexual harassment were first revealed in a 2017 New York Times report, did not earn a spot on the list. According to The Hollywood Reporter, his power had started to fade even before the scandal became public.

Though Moonves doesn't make this year's list, journalist Ronan Farrow, whose reporting helped to take down the CBS executive, does. CBS executive and shareholder Shari Redstone moved up one spot to No. 5 on the list. Meanwhile, Jennifer Salke, who is now the head of Amazon Studios, makes the list, as does Lasseter's replacement, Jennifer Lee.

Disney CEO Bob Iger earned the top spot. He spoke to THR's editorial director Matthew Belloni about the #MeToo movement and its impact on the industry.

Chief executive officer and chairman of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse look on before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), November 27, 2017 in New York City.
Getty Images
Chief executive officer and chairman of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse look on before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), November 27, 2017 in New York City.

"I don't want to talk about anybody, specifically, but it's critical for us as leaders in this industry to create safe environments for people who have been victims of abuse to speak up and feel safe about speaking up and for others who have witnessed abuse to do the same," he said. "It's critical. As difficult as this time may seem, it's high time that we all woke up to the need to protect the people that work for us and work with us."

As Hollywood's power structure has shifted, more women and people of color have risen to prominence. This year's list is 16 percent people of color (up from 8 percent two years ago), and 19 percent women (up from 14 percent two years ago). Of the 35 newcomers, 40 percent are women and people of color. While the changes are small, the numbers do indicate an industry shift towards greater diversity.

LeBron James, Tiffany Haddish, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael B. Jordan and Guillermo del Toro are among some of the newcomers to the list. Filmmakers Ryan Coogler and Jon M. Chu earn spots No. 93 and No. 97, respectively. Coogler's "Black Panther" and Chu's "Crazy Rich Asians" each smashed box office records this year and earned praise for on-screen diversity.

Producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, who take spot No. 86 on the list together, worked alongside Chu to help bring "Crazy Rich Asians" to the screen. The film, which earned more than $188 million worldwide, is the first contemporary Hollywood film in 25 years to have an entirely Asian cast.

Jacobson says that for her, one of the biggest surprises of 2018 is that "people are surprised that diversity and inclusion are good business."

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