When The Hollywood Reporter published its roundtable conversation with the minds behind some of this year’s animated films this morning, Twitter users noticed something awry. The headline blares: “Seth Rogen And 6 More On Avoiding Ethnic Stereotypes And How To ‘Break the Mold’ Of Princesses,” highlighting a conversation about diversity in the field. Alas, the photo above the headline shows seven grinning white guys. And one of them—Rogen—is largely present for his celebrity. (He did not direct Sausage Party, though he was heavily involved in its creation.)
The subjects teased are relevant to the creators’ movies. Zootopia earned praise for its allegorical take on prejudice, and Moana featured Disney’s first Polynesian princess, who also happened to have a realistic body type. Still, Kubo And The Two Strings was called out for using white actors when the film takes place in Japan, and Sausage Party’s engagement with stereotypes can be read as either commentary or blatant racism.
As one might expect, a discussion between this homogenous bunch isn’t particularly enlightening. It is, however, at times enraging. For example, after Moana director John Musker talks about a research trip to the Pacific Islands and how it differed from when he was working on Aladdin, The Little Prince’s Mark Osborne remarks, “That’s pretty good. On Kung Fu Panda, we just Googled China. That was as far as we could go.” Then there’s an entire section devoted to the treatment of female protagonists without one woman commenting. It’s worth having an honest conversation about these subjects, but it’s impossible to have a good one without adequate representation.
At least Rogen seems to know how dumb and frustrating this situation is: