Go get ’em, Tiger!
by Susan Karlin
Onscreen, TV producer Glen Mazzara shines a light on our darker natures. Offscreen, he’s trying to improve them.
Mazzara, creator of A&E’s Damien, inspired by the 1976 horror film The Omen, and former showrunner of The Walking Dead, is among the leading advocates to increase diversity among TV writing staffs, crews, and casts.
In 2002, Mazzara began speaking to minority and young writers on how to break into the system. Since 2012, he has co-chaired the Writers Guild of America, West’s Diversity Advisory Group with Scandal andGrey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. Their mission: to educate the WGA, studios, networks, agencies, and showrunners about diversity problems and develop methods to fix them.
Mazzara’s efforts have become especially pertinent, when accusations of Hollywood racism, sexism, and age discrimination have crescendoed, from the #OscarsSoWhite campaign decrying the absence of African American actor nominees, to disclosures of gender pay disparity, to “whitewashing” roles by casting white actors to play non-white characters. The 2016 WGAW Hollywood Writers Report revealed a mixture of glacial progress, stagnation and reversals in women, minority, and older writer employment and earnings.
“People think, because I’m a white guy, I don’t have an ax to grind,” Mazzara tells Co.Create. “Friends and people I mentor are not getting access to jobs they deserve, because of a systemic racism and sexism in Hollywood. It’s my community. I don’t want my sons growing up in a world that raises them above all others, because of their gender or race. While it’s also good business to get different stories and voices onscreen, I have responsibility, as a producer in a leadership position on my show, an employer, and an artist, to level the playing field.”…