Gina Torres Calls Out ‘Systemic’ Prejudice In Hollywood (video)

And when you say the old way of thinking, thinking in what respect? Thinking in how people are casting tv shows or movies, thinking about where the money is going, where do you see the sort of biggest problem?

It’s systemic across all long lines. I mean, it starts at the very beginning. It starts with apprenticeship, quite frankly, with people who get into positions of power that need to bring in other people and diversify, not just the writers room, but diversify what’s happening behind the camera. And then you have the buyers, who like to think, or have been selling us this idea that diversity doesn’t sell - well I think we know that’s a lie. We pretty much put that away. And it goes into casting - and I have said this before: it’s not that you have to write something black or write something Latino – just write something and hire the actor. Bring all the actors in, not just white. Don’t just assume that because it’s not specifically white or black that a person of color can’t play that part, because that’s obscene and that’s absurd. There are so many gifted people out there of color. But everybody just has to decide that that’s what’s gonna happen.

Have you ever experienced someone directly stopping you from progressing or pursuing a role, because of your race or background?

Of course I have! [Laughs] Of course I have, absolutely! There are too many to count. I have been doing this for 25 years, and in that time span, there are way too many to count. And they’re very slick about it. They can’t really say that out loud, but you know what it is because they go “a different way.” And then you see it done, and you see what the different way was, each and every time. And it was the white way.