Dear Discovery: Does diversity include Hispanics or not?
Over the last several months, members of the Latino Advisory Leadership Council—a coalition comprising the undersigned national Latino organizations—has had a series of meetings with executives at Discovery Communications about diversity, in light of the company’s upcoming merger with WarnerMedia.
Our coalition has invested considerable time and expense in educating company leaders, including Discovery CEO David Zaslav, about the Hispanic community. We have highlighted the community’s exponential growth—presently one in five Americans is Hispanic—as well as the fact that we are on average the youngest consumers and spend the most per capita on entertainment.
We are outraged by yesterday’s announcement regarding the members who will make up the merged company’s Board of Directors. It is abundantly clear that as far as Discovery’s leadership is concerned, diversity does not include any Latinx. It makes no sense, and certainly no business sense, for Discovery to continue to shortchange a community that will undoubtedly be one of its biggest business opportunities now and in the future.
These leaders have, in turn, assured us that they recognize the power and potential of our community and that they are committed to bolstering diversity in a company that has historically and to date woefully underserved Latinx consumers. But as always, actions speak louder than words, and two recent actions have significantly undermined Discovery’s positive statements about their commitment to our community.
Discovery has zero U.S. Latinx-focused content across their networks, zero Latino executives or creatives, and less than .4% Hispanic leads on all channels. And last month, we learned that CNN’s new online platform, CNN+, has no Latino and Latina journalists among the lineup they announced. We have also learned that there will be no Latino or Latina members on the merged company’s incoming Board of Directors.
While we are very pleased to see that there are multiple Black and Asian American members of the board, we note that those members were all appointed by AT&T. That Discovery did not appoint either a woman or person of color on their slate is extremely concerning and further exacerbates their growing credibility issues when it comes to diversity.
We need to hear from Discovery what actions, and not merely supportive words, they are planning in order to rectify this unacceptable situation.
- Acevedo Foundation, www.acevedo.foundation
- Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility, www.hacr.org
- Hispanics in Philanthropy, www.hiponline.org
- LA Collab, www.lacollab.org
- Latino Corporate Directors Association, www.latinocorporatedirectors.org
- Latino Donor Collaborative, www.latinodonorcollaborative.org
- Latino Film Institute, www.latinofilm.org
- Latinx House, www.thelatinxhouse.org
- National Association of Hispanic Entertainment and Media Professionals, www.facebook.com/HispanicEntertainmentProfessionalsNational
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), www.nahj.org
- National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), www.nalip.org
- National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, www.hispanicarts.org
- National Hispanic Media Coalition, www.nhmc.org
- U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, www.ushcc.com
- UnidosUS, unidosus.org
List complete as of March 17, 2022.