What Is the Inclusion Rider?

The Inclusion Rider is an addendum to an actor or content creator's contract that sets forth a hiring process for roles on camera and behind the camera to move toward a Hollywood where stories and storytellers reflect the diversity of the world we live in. It does this while providing for flexibility and protecting creative sovereignty.  

The Rider is a template and living document. It is a flexible and adaptable framework that actors/content creators should consider together with counsel. It stipulates a process for consideration of a deep and diverse pool of candidates, thoughtfully including those from historically underrepresented groups, encourages setting benchmarks or targets for hiring and casting of qualified individuals from under-represented backgrounds, provides for collecting and reporting data regarding representation to encourage progress in deepening representation over time, and provides a provision for accountability to encourage reflection and facilitate progress.

In effect, The Inclusion Rider is a valuable tool for proactively addressing inequality on screen and behind the camera.

The Reimagined Inclusion Rider

On April 28, 2021, as part of a coalition involving Color Of Change’s #ChangeHollywood initiative, Kalpana Kotagal of Cohen Milstein, Fanshen Cox of Pearl Street Films, and Dr. Tasmin Plater, head of Human Resources at Endeavor Content, released a reimagined Inclusion Rider for individuals and an Inclusion Rider Policy for companies to implement as hiring policy together with an Implementation Guide and extensive resources to support implementation. This unique coalition brings together civil rights, racial justice and legal expertise, as well as a deep knowledge of the industry, to provide resources for increased diversity throughout Hollywood.

This new iteration of the Rider template expands upon its original legal framework, develops additional tools for hiring crew from under-represented backgrounds, and adds accountability measures and advocates for intersectional inclusivity, which includes but is not limited to gender, race and ethnicity, as well as LGBTQIA, age, and disability considerations.

Specifically, the newly reimagined Inclusion Rider and accompanying company policy guidelines, address four key principles needed for companies to successfully adopt the Inclusion Rider include:

  • A commitment to deepening and diversifying hiring pools.
  • Establishing benchmarks/targets for hiring and striving for progress toward achieving them.
  • Collecting, measuring, and analyzing application and hiring data.
  • Implementing accountability measures to continue to support progress even where a company falls short of its goals.

By encouraging networks, studios, agencies, and other organizations across the industry to adopt the Inclusion Rider, actors, content creator and companies can ensure racial equity within the industry and transform the impact of Hollywood on society.

A Brief History of the Inclusion Rider

The Inclusion Rider was conceptualized in the Fall of 2016 at Pearl Street Films. The purpose of the Rider was to develop a means through which Hollywood A-listers could contribute to making Hollywood more equitable – in front of and behind the camera. The original legal template of the Inclusion Rider was developed by Kalpana Kotagal of Cohen Milstein, Fanshen Cox of Pearl Street Films, and Dr. Stacy L. Smith of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Notably, Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand referenced the Inclusion Rider in her 2018 Best Actress acceptance speech, thereby bringing global attention to the Rider and its purpose. As a result, major Hollywood talent announced they would adopt the Rider. Endeavor Content, one of the early adopters, used the principles of the Rider in several of its productions, followed by other studios and business enterprises in Hollywood and other industries.

In addition to Endeavor Content and Pearl Street Films, at the time of the release, several companies had committed to using the Inclusion Rider, including AMC Studios, Forest Whitaker's Significant Productions, Scott Budnick’s One Community, Stephanie Allain’s HomeGrown Pictures, Layne Eskridge’s POV, Jeff Friday Media, Lynette Howell Taylor’s 51 Entertainment, Raeshem Nijhon, Carri Twigg & Nicole Galovski's Culture House, Matt Nicholas & Nastassja Kayln’s Rebel Maverick,  Farhoud Meybodi’s Ritual Arts, Harry & Gina Belafonte’s Sanfoka.org, and Portal A.

The Inclusion Rider can also be applied to other industries.

Inclusion Rider Template

  • The Inclusion Rider template for individuals can be accessed here.
  • The Company Inclusion Rider Policy can be accessed here.

The Inclusion Rider can also be applied to other industries.