Frances McDormand did something rare when she accepted her Oscar for Best Actress at the 2018 Academy Awards: She issued a call to action. With just two words, she set off not only a series of Google searches and explainer articles, but also a challenge to Hollywood. “Inclusion rider: look it up," she said.
Inclusion riders are equity clauses that actors can have put in their contracts that guarantee a project attain a certain level of diversity both onscreen and off. They also come with financial penalties should good-faith efforts not be made to achieve these goals. They were introduced by University of Southern California professor Stacy L. Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, civil rights attorney Kalpana Kotagal, and Head of Strategic Outreach at Pearl Street Films Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, who had already been working together behind the scenes to roll them out several months before the Oscars. Kotagal told Jezebel they had been hearing from talent interested in including the riders in their contracts, but couldn’t “name names.”
Now that McDormand has blown the lid off inclusion riders, those names are coming forward. “The inclusion rider uses strong language to encourage the hiring of people such that the cast and crew reflect what the world (and/or the world of the story) looks like. This is proven to be effective in combating implicit bias — which we do accept has been part of the problem since we’ve met so many well-meaning people who say they want to do better,” DiGiovanni told Refinery29 in a recent email.
These are the well-meaning actors, creators, and agencies who have already vowed to do better.
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