While the amount of protests being staged around the world seem to have levelled off recently, the calls for widespread social and racial equality aren’t going away anytime soon, and as an industry that has frequently been criticized for decades over a lack of diversity and representation, the movie business is trying to position itself at the forefront of the movement.
Although Hollywood should be commended for trying to atone for the sins of the past, there’s a fine line between a genuine apology and simply sweeping something under the rug and hoping that everyone forgets about it. Disney Plus and HBO Max should be praised for adding disclaimers to some of their older titles that feature characters that would be deemed insensitive in today’s climate, but Netflix pulling episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia because they feature blackface feels like a knee-jerk reaction.
Spend five minutes on the internet and you’ll find two very different schools of thought, one that jumps on any bandwagon that’s going, and another that calls the rest out for being too easily offended. This is why we have people calling for a boycott of The Eternals because it features a same-sex relationship at the same time Kindergarten Cop is being pulled from a drive-in theater following accusations that it glorifies systemic racism and a police presence in schools.
As a Canadian comedian that built his success on stoner comedies co-starring his closest friends, Seth Rogen hasn’t exactly had to overcome many obstacles in rising up the ranks, something he admitted he was fully aware of in a recent interview.
“For a long time, I think I was alleviating myself from some of the responsibility that one who is making a living off the American system should be feeling, you know? Like, ‘I’m Canadian! I just come here to work and make comedies!’. Now it’s been too long, I’m an adult, I’m fully a part of American culture and a contributor to it. I can’t pretend that this is not my culture as well, and that this is not my problem as well. I am an American citizen, and this is America, and I make money in America. So I no longer feel that way.”
As a prolific writer and producer, the 38 year-old revealed his solution for increasing diversity and representation in any of the projects that he’s attached to, and it’s about as simple as you’d expect from a straightforward guy like Rogen.
“I mean personally, I think I am just actively trying to make less things starring white people. And if I’m succeeding or I’m not, I’m very much looking to have a far more diverse group of writers and directors and actors that we generally work with, because that group is not incredibly diverse, you know? So that’s how I’ve been trying to deal with it, is just to actively take as they would say, anti-racist measures to assure that some work is doing done to acknowledge that Black people are very marginalized in American society.”
These sorts of conversations aren’t going away, and as one of the most influential and recognizable figures in modern Hollywood’s comedy scene, Seth Rogen knows that he has the opportunity to be one of the driving forces behind the change, and looks to be embracing it fully.