Missing and Maligned
This landmark research on Muslim portrayals in film from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative highlights the need for more nuanced stories.
Recent violence against Muslims demonstrates dangerous biases on a global scale. While the causes of such violence are complex, mass media plays a worrying role in exacerbating negative stereotypes, especially when audiences have few real-world experiences with Muslim communities.
With support from Pillars Fund, the Ford Foundation, and actor and activist Riz Ahmed, Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative launched a landmark study on the prevalence and portrayal of Muslim characters on screen. Missing & Maligned: The Reality of Muslims in Popular Global Movies examines Muslim representation across 200 top movies from the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand released between 2017 and 2019. Download the full report below and learn more at annenberg.usc.edu/aii.
This study reveals the scope of the problem facing Muslims in entertainment and the urgent need for solutions that increase the presence of Muslim voices in storytelling. In response to these findings, Pillars worked with this coalition to spearhead the creation of The Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion, which provides film industry professionals with guidance on how to support Muslim stories and storytellers. The Blueprint includes short, medium, and long-term solutions for change, concrete recommendations for everyone from production companies to drama schools, the Muslim Visibility Challenge for industry power players to commit and take action, and a suite of practical resources and contacts to support everything from script screening to casting.