Behind the Sony scandal : the role of talent agencies in perpetuating inequality



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Hollywood talent agencies are powerful organizations that act as gatekeepers to the industry and structure the labor market for actors, directors, and writers. This thesis applies Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s work on tokenization, Joan Acker’s theory of gendered organizations, and R.W. Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity to understand the organizational structures and narratives of success that privilege white men in talent agencies. Through interviews conducted with talent agents, I found that these organizations are defined by men’s monopoly of powerful positions, professional networks exclusive to men, a patrimonial system of mentorship, and discourses that prize certain masculine performances and disparage femininity. This thesis illuminates the exclusionary organizational structures and discourses operating within talent agencies that may help explain the white male domination of these spaces.