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The cast from "In The Heights" at its opening in June. Photo: John Lamparski/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Latino and Hispanic Americans are vastly neglected and poorly represented in popular films, according to a new report from the University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Why it matters: The report, released on the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, found that while Hispanic and Latino Americans have the highest per-capita theater attendance in the nation, they're rarely cast in lead roles in popular films.

The big picture: The study assessed leading Hispanic and Latino actors across 1,300 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2019, along with Hispanic and Latino directors, casting directors and producers.

  • Only 7% of major films in 2019 featured a lead Hispanic or Latino actor, and about 6% of characters cast that year were Hispanic or Latino.
  • Among directors, 4.2% of the 1,300 films were Hispanic or Latino, while 3% of producers were Hispanic or Latino.
  • Hispanic and Latino characters were also found to be portrayed in a bad light as more than one-third of lead Hispanic or Latino roles in 2019's biggest movies were as criminals.
  • "As companies celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through online posts, events and employee resource groups, the evidence is clear that concern for inclusion happens when convenient or expected and not when it comes to greenlighting films by, for, and about the Hispanic/Latino community," said Stacy Smith, founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - Podcasts

Latino home ownership is on the rise

Almost 50% of Latinos in the U.S. owned a home in 2020, according to a report from the Hispanic Wealth Project, a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

But Latinos are still 2.3 times more likely to be in forbearance and 1.5 times more likely to be delinquent on payments than white borrowers.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Axios’ race and justice reporter Russell Contreras on the uptick in Latino homeownership and the financial troubles they are also experiencing.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.

Updated 54 mins ago - World

U.S. freezes aid to Sudan over military coup

Protesting the coup in Khartoum. Photo: AFP via Getty

The Biden administration froze a $700 million aid package to Sudan after a military coup on Monday threatened to end the country's transition toward democracy.

Driving the news: At least three protesters have been killed and dozens wounded in the chaotic scenes that followed the announcements from Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's ruling council, dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.