Recent News

Gillian Anderson as FBI Special Agent Scully

One of the longest-running science fiction series in network TV history, FOX’s The X-Files follows FBI special agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) as they investigate unexplained cases set aside by the government. A medical doctor and realist, Agent Scully is the foil to Agent Mulder’s conspiracy theorist character, and served as an early example of a strong female TV protagonist who inspired a generation of women to pursue careers in the sciences and law enforcement.

After learning about the previously-anecdotal “Scully Effect”— which observed the influx of women pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as Agent Scully became a household TV name —21st Century Fox partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media to better understand and quantify the impacts that character had on viewers. The Institute is the first and only research-based organization working within media and entertainment to educate and influence content creators, marketers, and audiences on the urgent need to eradicate bias, gender imbalance, and harmful stereotypes while creating positive role models and strong female characters across the industry.

In celebration of March’s Women’s History Month, 21CF and the Geena Davis Institute carried out a research survey of women across the US, which found a correlation between women who were familiar with, or fans of, The X-Files and its influence on their career paths. This was the first such study to find evidence backed by data rather than anecdote:

  • Nearly two-thirds of women in the study who work in STEM say Agent Scully served as a role model and increased their belief in the importance of STEM
  • Women who regularly watched The X-Files are 50% more likely to work in STEM than less frequent/non-watchers
  • Women who watched The X-Files are 42% more likely to agree with the statement “I would encourage my daughter/granddaughter to enter a STEM field” than non-watchers.

The study has sparked prolific discussion on social media, with fans of Scully and the show using the hashtag #ScullyEffect to share how the representation of a respected independent woman in STEM influenced their career paths and lives—in the words of the Geena Davis Institute, “if she can see it, she can be it.” Read the full report here.

#ScullyEffect

Check out the video below and click here to learn more, and share your own story with the hashtag #ScullyEffect across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram today!

Season 11 of The X-Files is currently airing on FOX on Wednesdays at 8/7c. Seasons 1-10 are available in a variety of home entertainment formats.


National Geographic Planet or Plastic

Every year, 9 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans and could remain in marine environments for more than 450 years. This escalating problem deserves our attention, and today National Geographic is kicking off a multiyear initiative to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on our oceans. The comprehensive plan of action called “Planet or Plastic?” launches today and is tied to the June issue of National Geographic magazine, which is available online now and will hit newsstands on May 29.

By launching its “Planet or Plastic?” initiative, National Geographic is leveraging its prowess in storytelling and science to tackle the planet’s plastic crisis. The organization-wide endeavor includes these main components:

  • “Planet or Plastic?” pledge: National Geographic will ask its global audience to join together in a commitment to reduce their use of single-use plastic. Informative content, consumer engagement activities and events will be rolled out in the months and years to come.
  • Scientific research and documentation: The nonprofit organization National Geographic Society will start an expedition in 2019 to study the type and flow of plastic in a river system. Science-based, actionable findings will be shared with local and national governments, NGOs, businesses and the public to help them invest in and implement innovative solutions. The Society also has a “Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution” request for proposal (RFP).
  • Social takeover: For the next three days, National Geographic will “pollute” its popular Instagram feed (@natgeo) with photos and stories showing the global plastic-waste crisis and the impact of pollution on the natural world. Photographer Randy Olson’s photos will be featured today; actress and singer Zooey Deschanel will curate @natgeo on May 17; and National Geographic’s photographers will post their own photos on May 18.
  • Collaboration with Sky: Last month, Sky and National Geographic announced a collaboration to eradicate plastic litter in the world’s oceans. As part of the announcement, National Geographic committed $10 million to support Sky Ocean Venture.
  • Corporate partnerships: National Geographic will partner with like-minded corporations and organizations committed to raising awareness about the ocean plastic issue and finding solutions. North Face and S’well are already working with National Geographic on initiatives.
  • Internal commitments: National Geographic will take steps to reduce its single-use plastic consumption. Starting with its June issue, it will begin wrapping its magazines in paper instead of plastic for subscribers in the U.S., the U.K. and India. This will save more than 2.5 million single-use plastic bags each month. National Geographic will also start a third-party audit to help develop a plan to further reduce its reliance single-use plastics in the workplace.

 

“For 130 years, National Geographic has documented the stories of our planet, providing audiences around the world with a window into the earth’s breathtaking beauty as well as to the threats it faces,” said Gary E. Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners. “Each and every day, our explorers, researchers and photographers in the field witness firsthand the devastating impact of single-use plastic on our oceans, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire. Through the ‘Planet or Plastic?’ initiative, we will share the stories of this growing crisis, work to address it through the latest science and research, and educate audiences around the world about how to eliminate single-use plastics and prevent them from making their way into our oceans.”

Read about the plastic crisis in National Geographic magazine’s June issue, and join the conversation on social media via #planetorplastic.

Learn more about the “Planet or Plastic?” initiative.


FX Pose LGBTQ Charity Donations

Ahead of the June 3 premiere of his new FX series Pose, a dance musical about ball culture in 1980s New York City, writer and producer Ryan Murphy announced he will donate 100% of his profits from the show to trans and LGBTQ charities across the U.S. The series features the largest cast of transgender actors in regular roles in TV history, as well as the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever for a scripted series. Murphy will spotlight each of the recipient organization on his Twitter account and plans to host fundraiser screenings and other benefits to continue to raise awareness and drive donations. Murphy is also the creator of hit FX series American Horror Story, American Crime Story, and Feud, as well as FOX’s 9-1-1.

“We’ve entered this area of television as advocacy, and I’ve seen the difference you can make in people’s lives by showing up for them, caring for them, and helping them in any way that you can,” Murphy said. “I just decided I need to do more than just make a show for this community. I want to reach out and help this community. My eyes have really been opened to the great work being done in a lot of these organizations, and they need our support.”

Pose follows a suburban New Jersey couple (Evan Peters and Kate Mara) who get swept up in the glamour and intrigue of 1980s New York, including the queer community’s underground house ball culture that was famously captured in the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning. Murphy worked closely with the Half Initiative, which he founded in 2016 to hire more women and minorities behind the camera on his television projects, to assemble more than 100 trans actors and crewmembers to work on the production. Pose also stars five trans women of color as series regulars.

“I believe that if you see a character on television and you love that character, you will consider our character to be your friend, even if you have nothing in common with that person,” Murphy said on the subject of LGBTQ representation on screen. “You look at shows like Glee and Modern Family… I really do believe that television an change the world, and I’ve seen it firsthand.”

Among the organization Murphy identified are the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Peter Cicchino Youth Project. SRLP works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and offers legal help with processes such as name changes, IDs, immigration, and more. The Peter Cicchino Youth Project, an initiative of the Urban Justice Center, supports the nearly 40% of New York City’s homeless young people who identify as LGBTQ. The organization provides legal services, advocacy, case management, and community education. Murphy plans to announce more recipient organizations in the coming weeks.

Pose premieres on FX on Sunday, June 3, at 9 PM ET.


LGBTQ Storytelling at Fox

Three television projects from 21st Century Fox businesses took home top honors at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on May 5, including Twentieth Century Fox Television’s This Is Us, FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and National Geographic’s Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric. The awards recognize media and entertainment for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, as well as the issues that affect their lives.

"GLAAD is working to ensure the spirit of unity and intersectionality that was celebrated tonight extends throughout the year," GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. "Tonight's award recipients are the front lines to ensuring that LGBTQ acceptance moves forward in a political and cultural climate that is working against us."

21CF garnered an additional eight nominations for films and television projects from across the business, including Battle of the Sexes and The Shape of Water from Fox Searchlight; American Horror Story: Cult, Feud: Bette and Joan, and Legion from FX; Star from FOX, One Mississippi from FX Productions, and Modern Family from TCFTV. This was the ninth consecutive nomination for Modern Family, as well as the fifth consecutive for Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

"What people see in the media has a powerful impact on how they treat others and the GLAAD Media Awards raise the bar for media to tell LGBTQ stories that accelerate acceptance," Ellis said. "This year's nominees showcase stories that span races, genres, ages, and geographies, challenge misconceptions, and broaden understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people across the globe."

Amiyah Scott, who plays the trans dancer Cotton on FOX’s drama series Star, co-presented a special award for Detroit Piston’s player and LGBTQ advocate Reggie Bullock. She spoke about her experience as a trans woman of color playing a character that defies stereotypes:

“Lee [Daniels, Star showrunner] is big on authenticity, so he does come to me sometimes and ask me my opinion because I am a trans woman of color,” she said. “Most trans roles are typical and he steps outside of that box and that's what I'm thankful for… Sometimes we are boxed in and our experiences as trans people are often shown as tragic and sad. But sometimes there is love and there is hope. It can be tragic for some, but that's not always the case. And I'm fighting to break that stereotype.”

Learn more about GLAAD and check out a full list of winners from this year’s awards.


Girls Who Code - 21CF Partnership

In line with its commitments to reflect the diversity of its audiences and to support the next generation of creatives and technologists, 21st Century Fox has made a multi-year commitment to back the groundbreaking organization, Girls Who Code (GWC), with financial and in-kind resources.

This support will go toward two significant initiatives: GWC’s new College Loops program, which will drive retention and community among female computer science majors by connecting and engaging Girls Who Code alumni at colleges and universities, and the development of the organization’s international presence. Both efforts will help the organization move closer to its goal of closing the gender gap in technology.

“We’re passionate about encouraging our girls to consider a career in technology and supporting those who’ve made that choice,” said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “The generous contribution from 21st Century Fox will help us empower the next generation of female computer science majors to solve problems and drive innovation across industries, including the creative and entertainment space, and communities.”

Paul Cheesbrough, Chief Technology Officer of 21st Century Fox and a longtime supporter of Girls Who Code, recently hosted a Tech Talk with Saujani. Organized by 21CF’s Women in Technology Colleague Network & Resource Group (CNRG), their conversation covered topics including Reshma’s background and the path that led her to found GWC, how the organization is helping companies expand their talent base, the important role film and television can play in closing this gender gap, and how 21CF’s partnership will drive greater impact in 2018. More highlights from this conversation below:

“I’ve long admired the mission and achievements of Girls Who Code and am thrilled that our support will help them deliver their vision,” said Cheesbrough. “Programs such as College Loops, which build confidence and camaraderie amongst tomorrow’s female technology talent, are key to ensuring that girls have the support they need to succeed in computer science. This relationship will be great for our technologists and essential for our business as we work to empower and recruit more women engineers and technologists across all of our brands.”

Stay tuned for more information about 21CF’s work with Girls Who Code as the partnership continues. Learn more about Girls Who Code here and 21CF’s diversity and inclusion work here.