Shonda Rhimes: Being the Only Straight EP Singled Out by GLAAD 'Is Not OK,' Points to Diversity Problem

GLAAD’s latest “Where We Are on TV” report listed Shonda Rhimes as one of just four executive producers who account for 17 percent of all LGBTQ TV characters — and she is “not OK” with that.

GLAAD’s annual report on LGBTQ inclusion (detailed here) pointed out that “out power players” Greg Berlanti, Lena Waithe and Ryan Murphy, along with Rhimes, this year accounted for 17 percent of all LGBTQ representation, with 62 of TV’s 360 queer characters (across broadcast, cable and streaming) appearing on their 16 collective series.

By TVLine’s math, that means that about 5 percent of all scripted shows account for 17 percent of the LGBTQ characters.

Rhimes, meanwhile, zeroed in on the fact that of that core four who are doing best by the underrepresented community, she is the only one who is not LGBTQ.

“You know what bugs me? I’m the only straight person on this list. That is not okay,” the prolific producer, who is now immersed in a deal at Netflix, opined on Twitter after the report’s release.

“It’s like the same problem with ANY kind of diversity,” she observed. “White people don’t do their job when it comes to representing people of color. Straight people don’t do their job when it comes to representing queer people. WHY?”

(Rhimes closed out her response with a P.S., saying, “I’m not suggesting I’m special — most of this work was done by [Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 showrunner] @KristaVernoff!)

All told, GLAAD’s latest “Where We Are on TV” report noted a slight decline in LGBTQ reprsentation on TV, due in part to how the COVID-19 pandemic derailed production long enough for many inclusive shows to either miss the eligibility period (as happened with Killing Eve, Gentleman Jack and The L Word: Generation Q) or, worse, be cancelled/”un-renewed” during the unplanned hiatus (which is a fate that befell GLOW and Stumptown).

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