On Friday, Netflix announced its new endeavor: the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity.
In a lengthy press release, Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos confirmed that the streaming service will invest $100M to build a legacy of inclusion in film and TV.
"We will invest USD $100 million dollars over the next five years in a combination of external organizations with a strong track record of setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries, as well as bespoke Netflix programs that will help us to identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally," Sarandos said.
The executive explained how Netflix worked with Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the founder and director of USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, to study Netflix's entertainment output from 2018 to 2019 and examine "portrayals of gender, race, LGBTQ+ identities and disability on screen across our industry."
Her team's report shows that Netflix is "outpacing the industry in hiring women and women of color to direct our films, and women creators to bring our series to life, and we have achieved gender equality in leading roles across our films and series."
Netflix projects also have "exceeded proportional representation of Black leads, co-leads and main cast across the two years that were examined."
But the report also found that the streaming giant needs to improve its representation of "Latinx, Middle Eastern/North African, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities."
And there is still work that needs to be done to increase the "representation of the LGBTQ community and characters with disabilities."
Ultimately, Sarandos said that creating the fund will ill help "accelerate the change that Dr. Smith has so long advocated for - creating a lasting legacy of inclusion in entertainment."