Sunday, May 5, 2024


Dear Hollywood,

This is an open letter to industry friends and colleagues.

We often pat ourselves on the back for having the courage to tell stories that are bold, different and focus on diversity. The idea is that somehow that what makes us different will unify us, as if unification was ever the goal. We live in a self-congratulatory bubble that doesn't often align with the rest of the country, but hey, at least we dare to tell stories that others won't tell!

But are we really that courageous? Or are we actually continuing to tell the same types of stories over and over again with the same themes and messages -- the very ones that our overlords in Hollywood have pre-approved for audience consumption. The very ones that continue to fracture audiences along ideological lines. Are we really free to share our deeply held values and beliefs, or might doing so get us cancelled if they don't align with prevailing orthodoxy? (I don't know. Ask James Woods.)

I have always believed that true diversity is the diversity of thought and ideas rather than immutable characteristics that tell you absolutely nothing about a person other than their chromosomal makeup or melanin levels. (If that gives you an idea what side of the political spectrum I'm on, so be it.) But I don't believe any one ideology has the cornerstone on great ideas.

That said, this is my clarion call for true diversity in filmmaking -- for the sharing of all ideas through film and television, even if our betters in the upper echelons of the Hollywood hierarchy don't approve. That might mean pushing to produce content through more independent means, and it may also mean getting cancelled by those who claim to represent democracy while simultaneously trying to blacklist those who don't agree with their point of view.

True courage in filmmaking will come when filmmakers start producing and disseminating content that doesn't align with prevailing political and cultural doctrines. That means making statements based on high moral truths and common sense values, something sorely lacking in our society today. True courage in filmmaking is not an echo chamber for the Hollywood elites, but sharing ideas they disagree with when you know those ideas are worthy, even if it means being shunned by those elites.

This is my plea for true courage and diversity in Hollywood, one I'm taking on myself, starting with this very

Mark Heidelberger

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