Franklin Leonard, Founder of The Black List speaks during The Power Of Inclusion Summit 2019 at Aotea Centre on October 04, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Photo Credit: Michael Bradley/Getty Images for New Zealand Film Commission
The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences sent a letter out to assuage the fears of some of its members following a wave of diversity inclusion and equity exits across Hollywood. The letter reinforces its commitment to ensuring that diversity is paramount to what it wants to see in the industry. The letter closes with a firm commitment from Bill Kramer and Janet Yang, the Academy’s CEO and President respectively: “Our DEAI-focused work is a continuous journey that requires sustained attention, commitment, and resources across Academy departments. We will be looking for additional ways to accomplish these efforts, and we are firmly committed to the process. On behalf of the Academy, thank you so much for your support. We look forward to continuing this important conversation.”
As we previously reported, the DEI departures seem to be connected to a larger backlash against diversity and inclusion efforts from conservative politicians and groups. Even though Hollywood seems to be populated by a number of liberal actors and directors, on the corporate side, they trend much more Republican. This can be most acutely felt in the current strike where it is essentially the studios and their heads like Disney CEO Bob Iger against the writers and actors who are seeking fair compensation and protections against unethical uses of AI in the workplace.
Franklin Leonard, the creator of the BlackList, a survey of the most liked movie screenplays that have not been produced, tells Variety that he does not completely buy into what the Academy is selling: “Any time you publish diversity numbers for new members without also citing the numbers for the organization as a whole, you’re saying quite a bit.”
Leonard told The Hollywood Reporter that he was done with diversity panels in part because he doesn’t see them as productive on their own and they would have to be part of a larger conversation for him to entertain the idea. In part, the BlackList exposes Hollywood’s lie of meritocracy in a brief overview of the screenplays on it, it produces quite a bit of diversity naturally. Perhaps Leonard’s ultimate point is that were Hollywood to have structures valuing diversity naturally, there would not be a need to create committees, panels, and positions dedicated to DEI because diversity and inclusion would already be present as a result of cultivated values.
Source: Black Enterprise