fbpx

Not Growing Pains: Is Warner Bros Discovery Color Blind or Tone Deaf?

Warner Bros Discovery is about to drown | Agents of Fandom
Source: Warner Bros. Discovery/Getty Images

Lately, Warner Bros Discovery has been busy making cuts, giving people their walking papers, and randomly setting $90 million movies on fire just to sit around the lobby and cook s'mores. The “David Zaslav cost-cutting escapade” is losing fans (and shareholder confidence) by the truckload.

This is $3 billion he's trying to cut. It's not like he can make a withdrawal and hide it in a mattress. Zaslav's grim reapers are making hard decisions. They are taking scrutinized actions. Yet, fans get stuck holding a bag of regret from the Warner Bros. Discovery gift store. (You know? Again. And Again.)

Amid all the machete-flailing and head-chopping, Warner Bros Discovery has left something nasty in its wake–an agape scab, full of Kosher Salt, that shows the merged media giant has a serious diversity problem. And everyone has noticed.

Warner Bros Discovery and Its Homogenized Multiverse

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav needs to pay attention to his people and how diverse they used to be | Agents of Fandom
Thats right David Zaslav is not a bigot Hes just an idiot<br>Credit Patrick T FallonBloomberg

Thanks to a lively exclusive from The Daily Beast, we learn some more bad news from Warner Boulevard. During WBD's Spring Cleaning, it appears they are sweeping a diversity and inclusion problem under the rug.

Among the recently axed at Warner Bros Discovery have been close to 70 people–in one month. That's 14% of the entire team, deuces. All the teams of unscripted entertainment at Discovery+? Gone. The kids and family sections of HBO Max? History. International content for the media company? Au Revoir.

That news is sad enough. But, another issue is not so “black and white.” There's no plainer way to say it. As a result of these cuts, Warner Bros Discovery is becoming as bleached and milky as a load of freshly washed sheets from a national Klan Rally.

HBO is the most homogenous part of this umbrella. Instead of trying to figure out how to integrate some of the [HBO Max] executives into HBO, they just made this sweeping cut of three divisions: kids, family, and international.

A lot of Black and brown people lost their jobs…I don't think anyone knows just how white the staff is.

The Daily Beast via anonymous former executive, August 2022

Boom!

The fear from the dearly departed people who went on the record with The Daily Beast is these layoffs have “amplified the lack of diversity at HBO.” In its wake, the Zaslav wrecking ball at Warner Bros Discovery has left what looks like a thrift sale at a Hoarders' convention.

Did you know CNN spent $300 million on their CNN+ streaming service? The idea was to stop those hacks from being one-sided on their network. There was another $100 million placed on promotions. The network lasted from March 28 to April 30–in the same year!

The point is, WBD doesn't care about losing money. They don't want to lose shareholders. However, this catastrophic, unpigmented blanket draped over Warner Bros Discovery may cause that.

The interesting thing in all this? Warner Bros isn't to blame. DC Films may be able to save what goodwill WBD has left in the community.

A Symbol of Hope?

That symbol of hope could help Warner Bros Discovery if they would get out of the way | Agents of Fandom
What that S means could save WBD Source Warner BrosDC ComicsThe Stone Quarry

Rattling off the litany of fart-and-fall-down moments from the cracked executives at Warner Bros Discovery would take months of finger-pointing and a generous portion of belly laughing.

The WBD team is a swarm of doltish, empty suits who don't know the first thing about fandom. Sure, they have their eye on profits, but they should have hired a “prophet” like Kevin Feige if they wanted to compete.

Instead, DC Films ignored and offended Zack Snyder to follow Toby Emmerich's and Walter Hama-lama-ding-dong's musings to make it the cinematic Promised Land. Instead of skilled counsel, Warner Bros. and DC Comics got two seeing-eye dogs in need of euthanasia.

Despite everything being said about the past decade of failed missions, stupid decisions, and embarrassingly bad movies (Josstice League, we're looking at you), Warner Bros. did something right–they put people first.

Wait, what?!

Warner Bros Discovery cannot remove the pride DC Comics had at one time | Agents of Fandom
DC Comics does have pride At least they used to <br>Credit Jim Lee

Think about the modern age of CBMs–post-Spider-Man of 2002.

  • First major CBM directed by a woman? Patty Jenkins (Yes, Lexi Alexander gave us Punisher: War Zone in 2008, but few took note during that time.)
  • First major comic heroine brought to life? Wonder Woman
  • First Black woman gave a green light for a movie? Ava DuVernay with New Gods (yes, it was taken from her, much like Silver and Black was taken from Gina Prince-Bythewood)
  • First Asian woman to direct a superhero movie? Cathy Yan with Birds of Prey

DC Comics' creations, one and all. Yes, Marvel has stood tall for diversity and inclusion in their films, such as the first Black superhero movie was Black Panther (or actually, Blade), and the first Asian superhero movie was Shang-Chi (or whatever Wong is doing with Doctor Strange).

The point is, DC Films made it a point to focus on great storytellers, regardless of who or what they are. That embrace of diversity in thought, inclusion in character, and equity with the final product can help them again. And, arguably, when Warner Bros Discovery needs it the most.

That is a sliver of what could be at DC Films. Much of it is masked in a flaming bag of dog turds left at David Zaslav's front door, but still, a glimpse of positivity in what could be.

If the executives of Warner Bros Discovery would get out of the way, we would be amazed at what could happen for DC Films. What a heroic story that would be for this comic brand to save that hapless studio! If only that great white something-or-other at the helm would pay attention to what he is doing.

There is a word that connects David Zaslav, the great white something-or-other and what DC Films' fans desperately need. What is that connective tissue? Oh, what's that word DC Comics' number one icon shared with us again?

Oh yeah…hope.

Enable Notifications OK No thanks
Which Notifications would you like to receive?