The ongoing discrimination lawsuit against WME and CAA from African American screenwriter Justin Samuels (and one little John August post to be precise) has made the issue of underrepresentation of black writers bubble up again in the blogosphere. Unsurprisingly, working and wannabe screenwriters, slaving away in the trenches on the umpteenth free rewrite, have met with a fair amount of vitriol Samuel's blithe naïveté about the long slog that is trying to write and sell the Hollywood screenplay.
According to Samuels, he is due eight million dollars in damages because he had eight screenplays (worth "one million each") that he was unable to submit to the majors because they don't accept unsolicited queries. And since the only way in for an unrepped writer is through a recommendation from an insider-- and the agents and insiders are white-- black writers are effectively locked out, in Samuels' reasoning. That leaves a black writer with much nothing else to do but launch an eight million dollar law suit.
In film, minorities are underrepresented by a ratio of 7-to-1, with the share of minorities employed in writing jobs declining to its lowest level in at least 10 years (5%).