GLAAD to grade film studios on political donations, public advocacy and global LGBTQ content in annual Studio Responsibility Index after corporate inaction around anti-LGBTQ legislation in Florida and other states

March 10, 2022

GLAAD today announced additional and immediate evaluations of Hollywood film studios to be incorporated into its annual Studio Responsibility Index, a study that analyzes LGBTQ representation in releases by eight major film studio distributors: Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, STX Films, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. The annual report assigns grades to each studio based on quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ representation from its film releases the previous calendar year.

The 10th annual Studio Responsibility Index will be released in summer 2022 with new sections documenting: 

  • Donations to anti-LGBTQ elected officials, candidates for office, and anti-LGBTQ Political Action Committees from a film studio and parent company. 
  • Public advocacy efforts from a film studio or parent company around pro-LGBTQ or anti-LGBTQ legislation. 
  • LGBTQ-inclusive ads or other public communications, especially outside of Pride month.
  • Actions taken to support a studio’s LGBTQ-inclusive titles internationally. Recent examples include: in 2021, Marvel's film ‘Eternals’ was pulled from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait after Disney reportedly refused to cut a same-sex kiss and in 2019, Paramount spoke out against censorship of LGBTQ content in ‘Rocketman’ in Russia. 

These new topics will be considered as part of the grades that GLAAD assigns to the studios. GLAAD will track and report on these topics each year.

The change in the annual Studio Responsibility Index comes following news that Disney PRIDE Employee Resource Groups, and other LGBTQ advocates including GLAAD, calling for The Walt Disney Company to take action against Florida’s ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ’ bill, which would bar discussion of LGBTQ people from Florida classrooms. This week, after the bill’s passage and following efforts from Disney PRIDE Employee Resource Groups, Disney CEO Bob Chapek issued a statement against the bill. Disney also joined over 170 businesses on a Freedom for All Americans and HRC letter opposing anti-LGBTQ state legislation.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis broke the news via Twitter and discussed the change to the organization’s Studio Responsibility Index:

“No company that chooses silence over allyship should receive high scores from LGBTQ organizations while nearly 200 anti-LGBTQ bills advance in states around the country, often targeting transgender youth. Corporations need to be held accountable for funding politicians that harm LGBTQ people, including their own employees, and for inaction on legislation that they can help defeat. Today GLAAD moves this forward in the entertainment industry and GLAAD will be leading efforts to create similar accountability across industries. LGBTQ inclusion is not just what happens on screen. The Walt Disney Company and other media companies need to take immediate action in Florida and other states. Entertainment and media companies cannot profit from our stories and stay silent on laws that discriminate against us.”

Last year the 2021 Studio Responsibility Index found a slight growth in racial diversity among LGBTQ characters in films from the eight leading film studios, however there were zero transgender and/or nonbinary characters for the fourth year in a row, as well as zero LGBTQ characters with disabilities and characters living with HIV. Based on the quality, quantity, and diversity of LGBTQ representation in the studios’ annual slate, GLAAD assigns a grade to each major studio: Excellent, Good, Insufficient, Poor, or Failing. Due to the unique and unforeseeable halt of theater operations for a majority of 2020, GLAAD suspended assigning each studio a grade in the 2021 report, but will resume grades this year. No film studio has ever received an ‘Excellent’ grade for LGBTQ representation in the report.