Aspiring Animation Creator Alleges Corporate Bias Against Diverse Creators
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Aspiring animation creator Sara Eissa wrote a Twitter thread on Saturday alleging that a certain "huge company that produces animated shows" is biased against original pitches for shows with "diversity" elements such as People of Color (POC) lead characters and LGBTQ+.
The company allegedly "spilt the tea" to Eissa regarding a show they funded that was "diverse" because it featured an all-girl cast with a variety of body types and LGBTQ+ representation. Instead of releasing a trailer with animation footage, the company released a video highlighting the creators as they talked about the "diversity" present in the show as a selling point. According to Eissa, the company received backlash for this move and is now less inclined to fund shows that feature "diversity themes."
"So f*ck the creators who use 'diversity' as a selling point instead of promoting the STORY because then a person who wants to pitch a show with an authentic diverse cast (not for the purpose of promoting diversity) gets put on the backburner bc executives will think it'll flop like that other show they funded," tweeted Eissa.
Although Eissa has declined to specify the name of the company, her website promotes a YouTube video by ClownfishTV which speculates that the company in question may be Crunchyroll. ClownfishTV discussed the similarities between the scenario Eissa (who is referred to in the video by her Twitter name "Sara Momobami") described and the announcement video of High Guardian Spice in August 2018, embedded below:
Eissa commented on ClownfishTV's video on Twitter, saying, "They're super intuitive as well and got their facts right."
Raye Rodriguez's High Guardian Spice was initially announced as the first "Crunchyroll Originals" animated project and was slated to premiere in 2019. Rodriguez announced in November 2019 that the show had finished production. It has so far not been announced for a specific premiere date.
Crunchyroll Studios' Margaret Dean is the President of the Women in Animation non-profit organization. When High Guardian Spice was first announced, she commented: "On High Guardian Spice, we have a 100% female writers' room, which makes sense as it's a show about young girls. And our crew is 50% female, very ethnically and LBGTQ+ diverse."
Eissa's tweets called the Women in Animation project a "scam," alleging that "the white showrunners of these lgbt/progressive shows hire ONLY other white women."
On Monday, Rodriguez tweeted, seemingly as an oblique reference to Eissa's criticisms: "Just want to put this out there for no reason at all -- I am a transgender man and a first generation Cuban American."
Onyx Equinox storyboard artist Samir Barrett and series creator Sofia Alexander also recently expressed general frustration about the marketing of properties with diversity themes rather than the story itself.
Creators have no power or say on how their show is presented to the world. Heck we don't even have a say on what the logo looks like 🙃— Sofía ‘La Ahijada del Matador’ Alexander (@sofiaealexander) August 23, 2020
Many people assume the wildest things. All we want to do is tell a story we hope people connect with.
Onyx Equinox is another Crunchyroll Original show which was announced to premiere this summer. In the animated work, "a young Aztec boy is saved from death by the gods and chosen to act as 'humanity's champion,' forced to discard his apathy toward his fellow man and prove humanity's potential in a fight that spans across fantastical-yet-authentic Mesoamerican cultures."
Sara Eissa is a 22-year-old film graduate who is currently pitching an action-adventure fantasy 2D animated series titled Astur's Rebellion. In her tweets, she indicated that an animatic and comic for the series will be released in September.
Source: Sara Eissa's Twitter account
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history