Survey of television writers reveals pervasive discrimination

The people who write the scripts for the television shows viewed by people in Tennessee are mostly invisible to the public. A survey of 282 working television writers conducted by the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity produced results that indicated widespread bias against writers who were women, nonbinary, LGBTQ, disabled or part of a racial minority. Bias, discrimination and harassment had touched the working lives of 64 percent of respondents.

Among the writers, 58 percent said that their ideas for diverse characters or story lines that did not rely on stereotypes often met with rejection. A large number of respondents, 53 percent, reported that their rejected story ideas might later be accepted if a writer who was not part of a minority pitched the idea again.

Requirements to hire people from diverse backgrounds frequently accounted for these writers having jobs in the first place. Forty-two percent of respondents said that the need to check off a diversity box resulted in them gaining their first or second job. Among women and nonbinary people, 34 percent of them responded that they were the only such members on their writing teams. To counteract these trends, the TTIE report suggested that employers should conduct more training to combat discrimination and harassment.

Although this report highlighted the difficulties faced by some Hollywood writers, a person in any occupation might be the victim of prejudice. A person who complains about workplace discrimination might not receive an adequate response from an employer or even experience retaliation for standing up for employee rights. A case evaluation by an attorney might help a person communicate a complaint privately to an employer. An attorney may organize evidence that demonstrates the violation of employment laws and prepare a person to complain formally to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when necessary.

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