The Directors’ Guild of America, an entertainment union which represents the interests of film and television directors, Saturday announced the election of its first black president, Paris Barclay. Barclay is an Emmy-winning director who has directed feature films and dozens of television episodes on shows like The West Wing, Glee, ER, Lost, and The Good Wife.
Barclay is also the first openly gay individual to serve as DGA’s president, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“When Chief Justice John Roberts was a student at Harvard College, he may well have seen a play written by Paris Barclay, who was also at Harvard then,” msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell noted on The Last Word Monday. “No one at Harvard then was surprised to see Paris Barclay go on to a successful career as a writer and director. But no one would have predicted that Paris Barclay would have become the first black president of the Directors’ Guild of America because we would have expected the liberal Hollywood union to have elected a black president long before the United States of America did.”
Barclay follows in the footsteps of such great directors as Frank Capra, Robert Wise, and Gil Cates, who led the DGA in years past. In a statement Sunday, Barclay said how honored he was, but lamented the lack of racial and gender diversity in a field dominated by white males.
“It’s not surprising that more and more of our members are of different colors and different genders,” he said. “The more important question is, why aren’t the studios and the networks doing a better job as far as hiring talented women and minorities?”