“Every six months, the trades would say, ‘Here’s the statistics on who’s getting the jobs,’ and I was like, ‘Fuck, this is terrible,'” Ryan Murphy recently told GQ in a profile of TV‘s queer visionary. And it was the lack of representation by women, people of color and LGBTQ people that led him to found the Half Initiative, dedicated to righting the industry’s shortcomings.
Murphy’s Half Initiative was founded two years ago to ensure that at least half of the director positions on his shows — which in the past have included Nip/Tuck and Glee and currently include American Horror Story, American Crime Story and Pose — are filled by queer people, women and people of color.
Murphy says those same statistics on who works in Hollywood made him realize, “What am I doing? I can hire people!”
Ryan Murphy launched Half aiming to make Hollywood more inclusive by creating equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera. Less than one year after launching Half, Ryan Murphy Television’s director slate hired 60% women directors and 90% met it’s women & minority requirement.
In addition to Ryan Murphy’s commitment to hiring minority and female directors to his own series, the Half Initiative also launched a director mentorship program. As part of that, every director on a Ryan Murphy show mentors emerging directors, seeing them through the pre-production and post-production processes. And the mentorship program also offers financial support to those hopeful directors. Really amazing stuff.
But Ryan Murphy’s desire to bring more minority representation to Hollywood isn’t just a behind-the-scenes effort. As the producer tells GQ, it’s also affected the content of the shows bearing his name.
Referencing ‘Trump’s America‘ and the current TV landscape, Murphy says, “I feel like it has made me more angry and more determined to push content that is sort of a middle finger to him on the air in many ways. Because I feel like an outsider again. Just when I have become an insider, I am an outsider again. So it made me angrier and more like, ‘You know what? I am going to go for it. Because I can.'”