Matthew Weiner says advertising has had "a shameful past" when it comes to integration, and that it hasn't advanced all that much since the era depicted in the show he created, "Mad Men."
"There are still no black people in advertising," said Mr. Weiner, who was interviewed by author A.M. Homes Sept. 27 at the New Museum as part of its Visionaries Series. "Advertising in particular is still not integrated."
"Mad Men" has addressed the volatile racial climate of 1960s America more often in recent seasons, but Mr. Weiner said he still gets questions about why there aren't more African-Americans on the show.
The unfortunate truth, he said, is that the show's main characters -- who are mostly wealthy, white male advertising executives -- would not have had much interaction with African-Americans.
"It's a shameful past," he said. "We tried to find a picture of a department store for when we were doing Menken's department store and there was the black department store and the white department store."
The even more unfortunate truth, he said, is that advertising remains a white person's world today. "Those African-Americans who are in the halls of these -- now there are two agencies in the world, I think, they've merged so much -- they are pioneers," he said.
One thing that has rapidly changed in the media world is how it's consumed. When Mr. Weiner started "Mad Men" in 2007, he said he was told he couldn't stream episodes on the internet because people's attention spans for web video topped out at five minutes.