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Sony hack, 'Exodus,' heighten calls for diversity in Hollywood at immigration event



Writer- producer Ligiah Villalobos said it was her job to call out Hollywood heavies
Writer- producer Ligiah Villalobos said it was her job to call out Hollywood heavies "on why the hiring has not changed in Hollywood or why the stories have not changed in Hollywood."
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Writer- producer Ligiah Villalobos said it was her job to call out Hollywood heavies
'Orange is the New Black' actress Diane Guerrero said Hollywood needed to do a better job of casting people of color.
Rommel Demano/Getty Images


The film industry came under fire for sidelining and belittling entertainers of color during a national immigration conference in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Writer-producer Ligiah Villalobos said that recently-hacked Sony Pictures e-mails "give you insight into why the hiring has not changed in Hollywood or why the stories have not changed in Hollywood."

Villalobos cited an e-mail exchange between Sony executive Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin in which they jokingly list off movies that President Obama would like, all featuring African-Americans such as comedic actor Kevin Hart.  Villalobos also slammed Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper for referring to Hart as "a whore" in another leaked e-mail about marketing budgets.

"I will not get hired by any of these people but I think it's important to call them out on it," Villalobos said, to applause.

Villalobos earned international attention in 2007, when her film "Under the Same Moon" was selected for the Sundance Film Festival.  She spoke at the three-day National Immigrant Integration Conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Villalobos also challenged director Ridley Scott's decision to cast white actors as Egyptians in his religious epic "Exodus," which led this weekend's box office.

Scott had told Variety:

“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such."

"I don’t care if I ever work with Ridley Scott," Villalobos said. "That statement is wrong."

Diane Guerrero, one of the stars of the Netflix hit "Orange is the New Black," also appeared on the panel.  She said that Hollywood needs to do a better job of casting people of color.

"What is representative of what’s out there is not representative of us," Guerrero said.

Guerrero, whose Colombian parents were deported when she was 14, said "we need to see ourselves doing great things."

"We need to see ourselves as council members, lawyers, as doctors, as good families," Guerrero said.