The Ethical Dilemma of Hollywood

Ethics. Ah yes, the word that assumes people should practice good morals and treat you right. Why would someone take advantage of you or be biased towards you when you know you can do the job as good as anyone? Why would a company cheat, lie, or risk your safety to make a profit when you know they should already have a product they are proud of so they don’t have to do those things to get ahead? Well hopefully some examples I use from the movie business explain that humans can be selfish and in turn sometimes negatively effect the welfare of others just to benefit themselves.

Ethics if used right, should affect you for the better and cause you to succeed in your work affairs. It is interesting to see such a broad topic be narrowed down into dozens of subcategories due to people coming up with more and more ways to disenfranchise or hurt others, human and animal. Most happenings from the use of bad ethics in the film industry are extreme cases because there is always so much at stake and it’s the go big or go home mentality that tends to have people skip corners to get ahead or meet a deadline. I am of course for abiding to harsh ethical standards for the betterment of the cast and crew, but sometimes doing the “right” or as I like to say the “expected” thing is not black or white.

Ethics in regards to equality for all has had a rough reputation in Hollywood and for good reason. One of the most recent controversies has been the #OscarSoWhite phenomenon which was when no minorities were nominated for Best Director or Actor/Actress for 2015 or 2016. Now I’m not saying there weren’t good performances by Blacks and Hispanics, but do you really think that the academy would want to risk  a controversy and potential loss of  viewership for two years? But suddenly in 2017 every acting category was recognized with a person of color to total seven minority nominations which matches the nominations from 2007. Look, I’m not saying that Hollywood isn’t racist. Everyone has racist thoughts once in a while, which is wrong,  but I am saying the academy did not start the year by saying “You know what, let’s not nominate any individual from a minority group in certain categories for the Oscars this year. That’s a great idea! You know what, I have a better idea! Let’s go for two years!” If anything, Hollywood is at and has been at the forefront of the human equality movement for years now. All Hollywood cares about these days is money, since it is a business, and they will do whatever’s necessary to ensure the biggest profit margin. And let’s look on the plus side, Leo won best actor that year, which let’s face it…it’s about time.

There is plenty more I wanted to talk about, but it seems I am at my word count for this assignment, so let me close with a quote from the much loved Tom Hanks when he called for a “code of ethics” in Hollywood, saying “The aspect of ‘Oh this is the Hollywood culture’ … Anywhere there are people in power who think it’s OK to manipulate those under them in a sexual manner under the guise of either helping or hindering their career—that exists absolutely everywhere in Western society—actually, everywhere in the world…That’s patently wrong.” Amen my man, amen.

Oscars: Record Six Black Actors Nominated, Diversity Improves After Controversy