California lawmakers passed legislation Monday that puts more conditions on state film tax credits in an effort to encourage better sexual harassment reporting and diverse hiring. The move comes amid revelations of misconduct and discrimination in the movie industry.
The legislation would require feature film and television projects that apply for the credits, which are assigned based on jobs created, to report diversity statistics to the state and designate people to handle misconduct claims. The revised tax credit program, worth as much as $330 million per year, would also require applicants to submit their policy prohibiting harassment and retaliation. In addition, major studios would have to report whether they have diversity programs.
"If you don't have a program, you're going to have to report that you don't have a program," said Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon, who helped craft the bill. "That doesn't look very good."
Assemblyman Rob Bonta and other members of the Asian & Pacific Islander caucus pushed for the diversity reporting requirements. The Alameda Democrat cited the films "Ghost in the Shell" and "The Great Wall," which cast white actors in leading roles he said should have gone to Asian actors. He said the films were "hurtful" to the Asian Pacific Islander community.
"We wanted to be productive in our solution and provide some support in terms of encouraging diversity in Hollywood, and we think this will do that," said Bonta of the change to the credit.