Shonda Rhimes: Being the one straight EP singled out by GLAAD, “It isn’t okay”, signifies a variety difficulty
In GLAAD’s recent “Where We Are On TV” report, Shonda Rhimes was listed as one of only four executive producers who make up 17 percent of all LGBTQ TV characters – and she “disagrees” with that.
GLAAD’s annual report on LGBTQ inclusion (detailed here) noted that Greg Berlanti, Lena Waithe and Ryan Murphy along with Rhimes made up 17 percent of all LGBTQ representatives that year, with 62 of the 360 queer TV characters (via broadcast, cable and streaming) appear in their 16 collective series.
According to TVLine’s math, this means that around 5 percent of all scripted programs make up 17 percent of LGBTQ characters.
Rhimes, meanwhile, focused on the fact that of the four cores that do best by the underrepresented community, it is the only one that is not LGBTQ.
“Do you know what annoys me? I am the only straight person on this list. That’s not okay, “said the prolific producer, who is now involved in a deal with Netflix, after the report was posted on Twitter.
“It’s like the same problem with any kind of diversity,” she noted. “Whites don’t do their job when it comes to representing people with color. Heterosexuals don’t do their jobs when it comes to representing queer people. WHY?”
(Rhimes finished her response on a PS, saying, “I’m not suggesting that I am special – most of this work was done by [Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 showrunner] @KristaVernoff!)
Overall, GLAAD’s recent Where We Are On TV report found a slight decline in LGBTQ representation on TV, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic derailing production long enough for many inclusive shows to either miss the admission deadline (as happened) with Killing Eve, Gentleman Jack and The L Word: Generation Q) or, worse, being canceled / “not renewed” during the unplanned break (which is a fate that befell GLOW and Stumptown).