16 Times Latinos Were Brutally Honest About Hollywood’s Lack Of Diversity

Rita Moreno, J.Lo, Oscar Isaac, Andy García (and more) tell it like it is.

01/27/2016 11:28 am ET

The conversation about diversity in Hollywood tends to reach a fever pitch every year around the time the Oscar nominations are announced. But the reality is that actors of color have to deal with the limitations of working in a predominantly white industry every single day, and they've been voicing their concerns for years. 

For Latino actors the struggle has certainly been an uphill battle. While Latinos constitute over 17 percent of the U.S. population, in 2014 only 4.9 percent of speaking roles within the top films of the year went to Latinos, according to USC's “Inequality in 700 Popular Films" study. And at times, as several artists note below, the roles that are available to Latino actors lean in to harmful stereotypes. 

Here are 16 times Latinos were brutally honest about Hollywood's lack of diversity. 

  • 1 John Leguizamo On The Antidote To 'Hollywouldn't' Stereotypes
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  • John Leguizamo has made a name for himself on-stage with autobiographical productions like his one-man show turned HBO special, "Ghetto Klown." But he didn't just do these projects for fun. During an interview at 2015's Sundance Film Festival, Leguizamo said the projects were an answer to the limited opportunities that exist for Latino actors in Hollywood.
  • 2 Oscar Isaac On The State Of Hollywood Diversity Right Now
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  • After winning a Golden Globe for best actor in a miniseries or TV film for HBO's "Show Me A Hero," a reporter asked Oscar Isaac if he thought Hollywood still lacked diversity. The actor was quick to clarify that though things have changed, there's still more that can be done.
  • 3 Gina Rodriguez On Hollywood's Limiting Representation Of Latinos
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  • Before "Jane The Virgin" became a breakout hit and Gina Rodriguez became a Golden Globe winner, she gave a profound and poignant speech about why she became an actress at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in 2014.
  • 4 America Ferrera On Taking The Lack Of Diversity 'Very Personally'
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  • After Gina Rodriguez became the second Latina to win a Golden Globe in the best actress category in 2015, America Ferrera told The Huffington Post she was disappointed it had taken 8 years since her own win for another Latina to take home the prize.

    “As an audience member, I take it very personally, I take it extremely personally when I watch,” Ferrera added. “I’m a huge lover of television and of film -- I have been my whole life -- and when there’s too much of the same thing and not enough to reflect the world that I live in, I take it personally.”
  • 5 George Lopez On Minorities Not Being Allowed To Fail In Hollywood
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  • Comedian George Lopez has had a long career of ups and downs -- but he says the downs tend to weigh heavier when you're Latino or Black in Hollywood. During an interview with HuffPost Live, Lopez made the above statement after being asked about the abrupt 2009 cancellation of his TBS late night show “Lopez Tonight.”
  • 6 J.Lo On Hollywood's Limited View Of Race/Ethnicity For Characters
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  • Jennifer Lopez may be a megastar, but she says it means nothing when it comes to getting the roles she wants.

    "It's super competitive and it doesn't matter how long you've been in the business or how great you've proven to be -- it's just, does that director want you for that role at that time, can you go in and convince," Lopez told HuffPost Live. "I still have to go in if there's a script that comes along that one of my agents is like 'This is a great script, you know, they want Cate Blanchett, but maybe you can still go in.' [I'm] like 'Just get me in the room! Give me a shot!'"
  • 7 'Jane The Virgin' Star Explained Why Hollywood Is Out Of Touch
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  • Jaime Camil is a renowned telenovela actor on Spanish-language television. But when the star crossed over with "Jane The Virgin" as Rogelio de la Vega -- the actor told Latina magazine he found the industry to be out of touch with what Latino audiences want. And he had the perfect analogy to explain his point.
  • 8 "Broad City" Star Proved Hollywood Stereotypes Hurt Everyone
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  • "Broad City" star Arturo Castro didn't just get frank about what the casting process is like for Latino actors in Hollywood -- he also turned the tables. On "Flip the Script with Liz Plank", Castro held a fake audition and told white actors to act "whiter" to show why asking Latinos to lean into stereotypes is wrong. Watch the full prank here.
  • 9 Sonia Manzano Described Feeling 'Invisible' As A Child
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
  • When asked what being Latina meant to her growing up, Sonia Manzano (best known as Maria on "Sesame Street") told The Huffington Post she didn't always love her roots because she didn't see herself reflected in the movies and shows she loved as a child. Read her full statement at Latinos Break The Mold. 
  • 10 Rita Moreno Opened Up About Her Worst Roles
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  • Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno described a career filled with stereotypical roles and challenges during a "West Side Story" screening in New York. But she also said despite the fact that Hollywood is a more welcoming place for Latinos today, there is still room for improvement.

    "The door is open, but the door is not sufficiently open. We still have to push it," she said.
  • 11 Cosmo EIC Said Hollywood Deliberately Leaves Out Latinos
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  • Former editor-in-chief of Cosmo For Latinas Michelle Mulligan took on Hollywood's Latino problem by pointing out how far the industry is from properly reflecting the reality of the United States. She noted that the lack of representation on-screen made little sense when you consider demographics and Latino's power at the box office.
  • 12 Rosie Perez On The Need To Rock The Boat In Hollywood
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  • Actress Rosie Perez said she's never been one to stay quiet when faced with Hollywood's limited views of what Latino actors can do on-screen. And the star told Larry King she got major backlash from Latino Hollywood when she tried to "rock the boat." Her response to them was simple:

    “I understand you guys have open wounds from how you were treated but there are wonderful people, who have made strides on our behalf,” Perez continued. “We have to reap the benefits, we can’t just sit there and remain afraid.”
  • 13 Edward James Olmos On Whitewashing Latino Stories
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  • "Argo" may have won the Academy award for Best Picture in 2013, but as actor Edward James Olmos told The Huffington Post, not many people knew Tony Mendez (portrayed by Ben Affleck) was Latino.

    "At the same time you say well ‘Ben Affleck had to play the role because he wouldn’t have made the movie without playing that role,’ and I said 'Ok that’s great well then Ben Affleck has a responsibility to play a Latino,'" Olmos told HuffPost. "So play a Latino, Ben Affleck. You know? Get with it, get with the program. Stop being Ben Affleck playing Ben Affleck the Tony Mendez character of this great story. Be an actor, really get yourself together and move forward on that level. And that movie won Best Picture of the year so look what happens. It’s ridiculous. We have a long way to go.”
  • 14 Salma Hayek On Why Hollywood Doesn't Want Her Anymore
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  • Salma Hayek surprised fans everywhere when she revealed that Hollywood studios aren't exactly eager to hire her. "I think they don't want me but I don't really care," Hayek said, according to the Associated Press.

    During an interview with HuffPost Live the Oscar-nominated actress elaborated on her comment, saying her personality and multi-ethnic background are the reasons she's not getting as many casting calls as in the past. 
  • 15 Andy García On Hollywood's Inability To Look Past Ethnic Surnames
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  • Andy García opened up about what Hollywood was like for Latino actors when he first started in 1978 during an in-depth interview with The Huffington Post.
  • 16 Demián Bichir On The Need For Diversity Behind The Camera Too
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  • In an interview with IndieWire, Demián Bichir noted diversity needed to start with those running the show from behind the camera. The ones writing the stories represented on screen.

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