The bit Steve McQueen misses

Ultimately, British production companies, financiers and the US studios working here need to make a decision about what side of history they want to be on. They need to start reflecting the diversity of the UK, not just in front of the camera, but behind it. Every British production should have a quota in place for actors and crew. We need to put an infrastructure in place where people from the BAME community, who make up around 14% of the population, have access to jobs, have access to training and apprenticeship schemes and can further their careers.

OK, cool. That will mean discriminating against BAME applicants. Yes, against.

For workforces are not drawn from the national pool but from the local. Once you get away from leading name actors that is. And much of the UK’s TV and film production is done in areas – like London or nearby – where the BAME portion of the population is higher than that national average of 14%. So, a 14% target means discrimination against BAMEs in that local population that workforce is drawn from.

This also works the other way of course. The Tyne area is – as an example – one of the least BAME areas in the country. Blacks were something like 1 % or so at the last census from memory.

Looking at the national population doesn’t in fact tell us much useful about what should be the mix in a specific area.

48 thoughts on “The bit Steve McQueen misses”

  1. My first thought was: Steve mcQueen? Huh? But he’s long dead, isn’t he? Turns out to be another with the same name.. Meh….

  2. How can you ‘reflect the diversity of the UK’ by adding crew members from BAME populations when their names will appear in credits that almost everyone fast-forwards through, skips, or turns to another channel?

  3. The proportion of the multi-culti squad already outweighs reality.

    Every fucking family in Britain is MC if you believe the shite adverts*

    By all means cut the MC quota–or better still reverse it so only whites and albinos on screen from now on.

    *Special punishment is needed–death and worse if possible–for the scum advertisers who have been allowed to torture us during LD with their “We’re all in it together” and “new normal” ands all the rest of their shite. WORST ADVERTS EVER.

    When I was a kid adverts were quite fun. Always something new and catchy–“Esso Blue” “Get the strength of the Insurance companies around you” Swan Vestas and the fantastic Tuf Shoes advert were a bloke charges up a flight of stairs, crashes into a room, has a fist-fight with and beats 3 suits waiting there and then walks out admiring his “Tuf” shoes. They would shit their pants at that today (while real violence has got far worse).

    Nowadays its all bullshit ,vaginal odour products or online gambling with some cunt in a Riddler-lookalike green suit.

  4. Also, as you do point out, if the targets are set on a national basis, it will be well worth moving to Tyneside if you’re BAME – everybody will want your services, and you will statistically have 14 times as many job offers as you should expect.

    Now add quotas for LGBTQWERTY (each letter individually), various disabilities, each of the 57 genders, all religions… and for the first time, HR will be an interesting job, what with the logical puzzles you will confront for each new hire.

  5. I’m cool with this. White actors who have been pushing this on social media for years get replaced. For once they suffer some consequences for their actions, instead of loading it onto others. Shrugs.

  6. The big problem with movies is that it’s mostly a rich man’s game, which also means it’s a white man’s game. There are far, far more wannabe directors, editors, writers and actors than there are jobs for them all.

    Lots of them spend years earning very little, and that’s far more comfortable if you have family money to keep you going. Working class actors either have to be exceptional, willing to put up with the shit for years or get a lucky break.

    It’s why history of art courses are full of posh white girls and computer science and medicine are more diverse. History of art is an indulgence. Medicine gets you a career. Poor people (which currently equates more to brown people) do the latter. And that’s a good thing.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke on M4 June 21, 2020 at 9:00 am – “Everyone complains about porn but that’s full of black men, asian women and lesbians.”

    Assumes facts not in evidence!

    So some talentless hack demands quotas because the proles won’t watch his films? Who gives a f**k? This could cut both ways. Perhaps we should change the demographics until they match those on screen?

    I am sure there are barriers to people making films. But not many. If you want to make a film, make a film. Robert Rodriguez could make El Mariachi on a shoe string and under the wicked capitalist racist system of the US turn it into a rather successful Hollywood career. Including introducing the world to Salma Hayek stripping with accompanying snake. Something that roughly 50% of the world’s population is very grateful for.

    One of the most consistently successful Hollywood film directors in Tyler Perry. Roughly no White person in the history of the human race has ever seen one of his films. I am pretty sure they are not very diverse either. But they make a lot of money.

  8. SMFS,

    There’s not many barriers to making a small, simple film. Rodriguez wrote a book about El Mariachi. His advice is to use what’s at hand. Don’t try and raise money to make a film, make a film with the actors, sets and props that you have.

    Like if you live in Bath, film a car chase with a drone shot of The Circus, ending with a standoff at the weir (why has no one made an action movie in Bath?)

  9. Sorry man, quotas are discrimination.

    So you want skin colour and not merit to be the deciding factor.

    That is racism, or am I missing something?

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke on M4 June 21, 2020 at 9:36 am – “There’s not many barriers to making a small, simple film. Rodriguez wrote a book about El Mariachi. His advice is to use what’s at hand. Don’t try and raise money to make a film, make a film with the actors, sets and props that you have.”

    The dilemma Hollywood is in at the moment is that if you do not have special effects, millions of dollars of publicity and so on, you need to have something else. You know, like talented screen writers. Good actors. A competent director. An appealing story. That sort of thing. But no, they would prefer the military budget of a middle sized Latin American country in Special Effects instead.

    Which comes back to the real point – it is hard to write a decent story. It is hard to make a decent film. Everyone tries and more often than not they fail. If someone thinks they can make a good film, then I would be the first to encourage them – because Hollywood can’t right now.

    It is not as if the budget helps. I am no longer willing to admit to having every watched an episode of Doctor Who, but Blake’s Seven was absolutely crap when it came to sets. They were as cheap as could be. Didn’t care. Still don’t. Although I am not sure that I would enjoy it much if I saw it again. It was very good at the time because it had a story that grabbed you and kept you focused. Well, it did me.

    I bet El Mariachi was not very diverse either. With a lot of people called something like Rodriguez in the credits. Who cares? People need to stop whining and take their best shot. Maybe it will work. Maybe not. But it won’t be racism holding anyone back. See Bruce Lee.

  11. @Grikath:

    “My first thought was: Steve mcQueen? Huh? But he’s long dead, isn’t he? Turns out to be another with the same name..”

    Yes, that was my first thought too, Then I realised it’s the shitty Steve McQueen, not the cool one.

    BTW, if we’re bothered about proportional representation in the arts, what percentage of the UK population are homosexuals?

  12. We already have positive discrimination in favour of BAME people in films.

    How else could the casting of wooden, talentless Idris Elba in big Hollywood movies be explained?

  13. Equity and the US equivalent used to have a ban on an actor taking another actor’s name. What happened? Or is that now deemed “racist”?

  14. have access to jobs, have access to training and apprenticeship schemes

    “have access to” of course being code for “be given”. Or is he seriously saying that blacks are (ahem) black-banned from the industry?

  15. SMFS,

    “The dilemma Hollywood is in at the moment is that if you do not have special effects, millions of dollars of publicity and so on, you need to have something else. You know, like talented screen writers. Good actors. A competent director. An appealing story. That sort of thing. But no, they would prefer the military budget of a middle sized Latin American country in Special Effects instead.

    Which comes back to the real point – it is hard to write a decent story. It is hard to make a decent film. Everyone tries and more often than not they fail. If someone thinks they can make a good film, then I would be the first to encourage them – because Hollywood can’t right now.

    It is not as if the budget helps. I am no longer willing to admit to having every watched an episode of Doctor Who, but Blake’s Seven was absolutely crap when it came to sets. They were as cheap as could be. Didn’t care. Still don’t. Although I am not sure that I would enjoy it much if I saw it again. It was very good at the time because it had a story that grabbed you and kept you focused. Well, it did me.”

    The writing is the foundation of any good film or TV. You make a great film with better actors, sets, stunts and better effects. But you can’t make a great film without solid writing. The big effect blockbusters that stand the test of time are also well written, like the Star Wars originally trilogy, Terminator 2, Die Hard, Jurassic Park. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse has some of the best animation work ever, but it also works as a story. You’re invested in the characters.

    One reason horror is so interesting at the moment is how little the films cost, so people are prepared to take risks more. Get Out cost $4.5m to make, so you can make an original story intertwining social commentary. You don’t have to sell a lot of seats to get back $4.5m. And horror completely stands or falls on the writing. They’re hugely profitable if you get it right ($255m on $4.5m).

  16. Bring it on I say. Will make loads of BAME people unemployed in urban areas as they’ll be massively over represented in employment vs the national averages. Marcus Rashford better watch out too, he may have to be dropped in favour of a white player to keep the Man Utd team racially representative.

  17. “The Tyne area is – as an example – one of the least BAME areas in the country. Blacks were something like 1 % or so at the last census from memory.”

    Clearly you don’t watch the Vera ‘tec stories on the telly.

  18. “Clearly you don’t watch the Vera ‘tec stories on the telly.”

    I had the misfortune to have to sit through a BBC WW2 drama on TV while visiting some friends last year. Who knew there were so many black people in 1940s UK and Europe?

  19. Vera is exactly why I once went and looked up the numbers for that area. It was getting very irritating watching the thing.

  20. ‘who make up around 14% of the population’

    Population. Not citizenry.

    Which leads to, “If they aren’t happy with the employment conditions, why are they here?”

    So this is just more black privilege.

    Government placing more controls on business. In a global economy, business only has to take so much before moving. Movies can be made in India. And South Carolina. We have many nice places for your factories. And studios.

  21. ” Clearly you don’t watch the Vera ‘tec stories on the telly.”

    Conversely, if ‘Eastenders’ reflected reality there’d be no white people in it.

  22. On the subject of the cost of making movies, I note that many movies are simply too long, and much money could have been saved by making them shorter. Batman Dark Knight is two and a half hours long, and does not need to be, hour and a half would have been fine ( better in fact ) and would have saved lots of money. Casino Royal (2006) is 144 minutes and could easily lose 30 mins.

    On the other hand, Jaws and Casablanca are both 102 minutes, and any redaction would make them less.

  23. “eastern Europe”

    I would expect Czech Republic and other places in western Europe to be good, too.

    Sergio Leone made some good movies in Spain.

  24. Quotas already in effect for a lot of films.
    BAFTA has already introduced quotas for all the usual suspects to make a film eligible for awards. As most British films can’t afford to miss out on the publicity of being even nominated then that’s most local films screwed. This applies in front of and behind the camera.
    Oh, but at least the Oscars…
    … have just announced they are doing the same.

  25. Hi Tim:

    I think (without crunching any numbers) if you base the quotas off of the number of APPLICANTS, rather than the population, you’ll find the problem had already been solved.

    Basically, over a few years, the production firm would have received hundreds of applications for, let’s say ‘grips’, as those positions turn over. Just hiring hit-and-miss, the production company should be able to show that it’s historical hiring generally matched the racial profile of the APPLICANTS.

    And it’s the historical practices that matter, since there may only be one or two grips on set at any point.

    A ‘law of averages’ kind of thing.

  26. I can’t do anything about it*. I’m not in the British movie industry.

    McQueen is management in the British movie industry. He’s fvcking responsible.

    *There is no “it,” of course. His racist rantings notwithstanding, differences in racial makeup of an industry is not evidence of racism. His leap to accuse (himself) is radical enough to disqualify him from serious consideration.

  27. Vern, you are making the grave mistake assuming Political Correctness has anything to do with sanity and logic….

  28. Pretty sure BAME are vastly over-represented on TV as it is. Well, blacks are anyway. South Asians tend to get ignored, relatively speaking. I always thought it might be worth (someone, not me!) sitting in front of the TV for a few days and figuring it out. If my hypothesis is right, what then? Less blacks in TV by quota?

    I suppose the priority should be to clean up football’s gross ethnic imbalance first. We can have more black coaches if we can get more white players. Sounds fair.

  29. For those interested in what can be done with only determination and hard work, look out for the hilariously awful Kiwi film from the late 1980s, appropriately titled “Bad Taste”. Directed by some bearded nobody called ‘Peter Jackson’.

    I confess to renting it on video in 1990 or so and greatly enjoying it, but drink had been taken and I was a student visiting my then-girlfriend (whose choice of had been)

  30. So Much For Subtlety

    john77 June 21, 2020 at 10:45 am – “Equity and the US equivalent used to have a ban on an actor taking another actor’s name. What happened? Or is that now deemed “racist”?”

    Worst case of cultural appropriation I have ever seen. But the Left loves Calvinball – the rules don’t apply to them

  31. McQueen’s own career demonstrates the how empty his argument is. He came from humble beginnings and has had two successful careers, as an artist and as a film director. He has a knighthood.

    All his achievements have been behind the camera. If one black chap from West London can get this far, why can’t others? Why is the film industry massively racist towards black directors, cameramen etc but not McQueen?

    It’s bollocks and reminds me of similar whining of millionaire actresses about lack of female directors. If they really cared about getting more women directors, they’d use their money and influence to support budding talent.

    As the British film & TV industry is rather smaller, it would be the work of an afternoon for McQueen (estimated net worth $14m) to make a difference. He could easily raise a couple of million for a foundation to support black British behind-the-camera talent and provide training, careers advice and project funding. He might even do some good.

    What does he actually do? Whines a bit to an interviewer. So fuck him. If he doesn’t care, why should we?

  32. The simple fact that there is a prominent black director (whether what he directs is Shakespearean or shite is beside the point) should be enough.

    This should inspire blacks to make the effort. Any taxpayers money should be general “infrastructure” and race should be completely irrelevant.

    If McQueen wants to spend his own money, fine but he needs to qualify and justify his blatant racism.

  33. AGN – it gets even more interesting when there are a few disabilities in conflict with each other.
    As in you cannot have them working together. Not even in the same room for more than a couple of very painful minutes.

    I find the idea of quotas insulting – getting a job not because I’m the best candidate or my skills are needed but simply for the fact I’m disabled. Or white. Or male. Or old.

  34. “Vaginal odour products”

    @ Ecksy – It’s not just me then! I doubt that the intended audience are particularly pleased with those adverts, either…

  35. Mark,

    “The simple fact that there is a prominent black director (whether what he directs is Shakespearean or shite is beside the point) should be enough.”

    One thing that’s been observed about media industries in the UK is how cliqueish they are. Which follows a lot from it being related to various government-supported organisations like the BBC, C4 and theatres.

    This can often look like racism, but it’s about the upper social networks of people, which were historically white. But people like Lenny Henry are part of that clique. Steve McQueen might not realise it, but so is he. He’s a former Turner Prize winner, so very much in with the upper normies, arts establishment. McQueen’s first film, Hunger was entirely funded by government money. Do you think some black kid in Wolverhampton who is the next Tarkovsky has the connections to get that?

    The biggest problem in the UK is more about this sort of old boy network stuff. USA is far more about talent because government is barely involved.

  36. Talking of adverts, has anyone else seen the one I did on youtube about the dangers of being lured into far right extremism? I’m guessing that I got given the ad because I visit places like this, and Zerohedge 🙂

  37. I was looking up some ethnicity stats and found one which explains a lot. Around 60% of the Black population lives in London. The other 40% live in the rest of England. So if a job comes up in London lots of Blacks will apply but only one can get it. If it comes up in other parts there won’t be many Blacks applying, in competition with all the other ‘ethicities’. No wonder they can’t produce a proportionate rate in anything.

  38. @ rhoda
    Thanks – that mostly explains the higher rate of black deaths from Covid-19. The Bangladeshi deaths remain a problem that can only be partly explained, at best, by the diabetes factor (40% of Bangladeshis in hospital with Covid-19 had – past tense – diabetes; I say past tense because the implication from the numbers thrown around is that most of them came out in a box) since deaths are 9 per million in Bangladesh and more than 900 per million for Bangladeshis in Britain.
    If Brown (Bangladeshi) Lives Matter we need to find out what is wrong.

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