Snap Originals 3 Year Equity Partnership Pledge
on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 8:00 PM
We are committed to making DEI fundamental to everything we do at Snap -- from the way we build and maintain our culture, to the way we run our business, to the products that we design. Our strategy is focused on inspiring empathy, redesigning systems and driving accountability.
Today, Snap announced an Equity Partnership Pledge for original content partners. The pledge asks partners to commit to supporting Snap in a variety of inclusivity initiatives including diverse staffing both on and off camera and organic partnerships with advocacy groups to assure that Snap Originals are reflective of our community’s diverse voices.
For the past two years, more than 50% of leads or hosts in Snap Originals have been BIPOC or LGBTQIA+ and just this year, two of our Snap Originals were nominated for NAACP Image Awards.
Creating content reflective of our community’s diverse voices, experiences and passions has been a priority since we launched our first formal slate of Snap Originals in 2018. We have a unique advantage of being able to learn from our built-in audience - one that engages with our wide-ranging Discover content and tells their own stories.
Snap Original “Coming Out” (2021) explored one of the biggest transitions in a person's life as they come out to the world with the support of one of the most-loved icons in the LGBTQ+ community, Manny MUA;
NAACP Image Award Nominee: “Life by the Horns” (2021) followed Ezekiel Mitchell on his journey to become the first African American to win the PBR championship in 35 years;
NAACP Image Award Nominee: “Two Sides: Unfaithful,” featured an all Asian-American cast for the scripted, split-screen drama.
Today, we announced our first Canadian Snap Original, “Reclaim(ed).” The series will dive deep into today's Indigenous culture with hosts Marika Sila and Kairyn Potts, as they reframe and reclaim cultural traditions and social issues from a Gen Z point of view. From Indigenous-owned and controlled production company Eagle Vision, this new docuseries led by Indigenous creators stars a roster of up-and-coming Indigenous talent.
SNAP ORIGINALS EQUITY PARTNERSHIP PLEDGE:
Building off the headway we’ve made to date with Snap Originals, our goal is to be the industry leader in inclusive and equitable on- and off-camera representation in Original Programming, providing equitable creative and professional opportunities to producers, talent and creators who are women or from groups historically underrepresented* in the entertainment industry. We will celebrate and empower a diverse range of voices - from producers, showrunners and department heads through A-list talent, top creators and everyday people - to tell their authentic stories and speak to issues that matter to Gen Z through Snap Originals.
Partners currently on board:
Kids at Play
Propagate Content, LLC
Propagate Content’s Big Breakfast
44 Blue Productions, a Red Arrow Company
3 YEAR VISION:
50% of all Snap Originals leads, hosts, showrunners, above the line talent, below the line crew and production company owners or leaders are women and/or people from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
Snap sets the bar for commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, and inspires other companies to meet or exceed these goals.
PURPOSE, STRATEGY, AND GOALS OF OUR SNAP ORIGINAL SERIES:
Our 3-year vision supports the purpose, strategy, and goals of Snap Originals series. We use Snap Originals to communicate Snapchat’s values to Gen Z through entertaining and meaningful storytelling. We give Stars and Creators the chance to tell authentic stories, to share parts of themselves and what they care about that they haven’t shared elsewhere.
To ensure each series is authentically representative of the vast diversity of Gen Z, we embrace mission-driven programming, telling stories about topics that Snapchatters tell us are important to them, from climate change and mental health to identity and social justice. Our shows meet Gen Z where they are, in life and on their phones.
COMMIT - DON’T JUST HOPE
Snap Originals will share our DEI goals so that our company and the wider technology and entertainment community can hold us accountable for meeting the ambitious targets we have set. By being fearless and transparent, we will challenge our peers to match or exceed our goals, driving a meaningful shift in the industry overall.
We acknowledge that our goals and timelines are aggressive: while we will push ourselves and the industry to make changes quickly, we will be thorough and thoughtful on the way - we won’t cut corners just to be able to say we hit our targets.
CAST AND HIRE EQUITABLY: GET TO FAIR, FAST
If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Snap Originals is committed to equitable on-camera representation for people of all backgrounds. Our DEI targets are aggressive because the time for change is now. Young people who use Snapchat need to see themselves reflected in our programming. Talented creatives, showrunners and crew from all backgrounds need opportunities to expand their careers and develop mobile expertise.
PARTNER WITH MINORITY-OWNED AND RUN COMPANIES
Research shows that even series with stars from historically underrepresented backgrounds are most often produced by companies that are owned or run by white cis-gendered men.** In order to actively uproot the systemic status quo in our industry, Snap must commit to developing strong partnerships with companies whose leadership is as diverse as the talent that stars in their shows.
Because the leaders of the entertainment industry are largely not women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ or people with disabilities, this is an area where our diligent work to find, partner with and champion qualified women and underrepresented production company owners and leaders can make a powerful impact on the industry as a whole.
WORK WITH PASSIONATE PARTNERS
We work with partners who share our values and commitment to DEI. If partners can’t enthusiastically commit to support our DEI goals in their productions, they are not the right partners to create Snap Originals. This may root out some well known companies along the way and we are OK with that.
MODEL RICH, INCLUSIVE STORYTELLING
Inclusive storytelling is about reflecting the nuances of the lived experience of all people, not checking boxes to make sure we’ve covered every demographic in the census. Snap Originals are widely inclusive, reflecting diversity within the diversity. Our shows inspire and teach the creative community to tell stories that are made for the speed and intimacy of mobile. They provide a model for mobile filmmaking designed to empower our viewers to take the camera into their own hands.
On screen and in the stories we tell, our goal is to avoid leaning into tropes or stereotypes. Characters from under-represented backgrounds are not just “the best friend” or only featured in secondary storylines or single “issue” episodes. We don’t make assumptions about the people we feature in our shows, or produce them into expected roles.
Originals empower creators to tell their own authentic stories and encourage first person storytelling. We celebrate complex characters. Most of our shows star one or two extraordinary protagonists who our audience comes to know in a new way.
DO NO HARM
Originals do no harm. Our series enable viewers to form a close relationship with people they may not have otherwise met. Our shows adhere to Snap’s content guidelines and are never exploitative or trashy. We love drama, but we don’t allow talent to be exploited in the editorial process.
BE ACTIVE ALLIES, STUDENTS AND COLLABORATORS
Snap Originals provides resources to our production partners that enable them to engage with external organizations like GLAAD and Active Minds that share our goals and can offer relevant DEI expertise to our team and our productions. Once a show is greenlit, we provide a production resource guide that helps partners to call in the experts to make sure we’re using best practices around language and representation - we’re always eager to learn.
*People from historically underrepresented groups include people from marginalized racial/ethnic groups, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
**As reported in the 2020 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report (Part 2: Television): 92% of television company CEOs were white and 68% were male, with 84% of senior executives being white and 60% male. https://socialsciences.ucla.edu/hollywood-diversity-report-2020/