January 13, 2020

Hollywood was abuzz after actress Frances McDormand received a standing ovation at the Oscars for saying the words “inclusion rider” during her 2018 acceptance speech. That’s because her speech — and those words — were uttered at a time that Hollywood was visibly grappling with ways to make the industry more inclusive.

[Fanshen] Cox is an award-winning actor, producer and the head of strategic outreach at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s production company, Pearl Street Films. She co-authored the inclusion rider with Stacy Smith, director of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and lawyer Kalpana Kotagal.

. . .

[Stacy Smith] brought [the idea for an inclusion rider] up at the end of this meeting and both Matt and Ben sat there and said, “absolutely, we can do that. We can do that 100%.”

At that point, Stacy reached out to Anita Hill and, asked her to help us draft the legal language for the inclusion rider. She wasn’t available, but she said, “I have this great colleague and her name is Kalpana Kotagal. She’s a civil rights attorney, she works on labor law.”

Stacy, Kalpana and I worked together for eight months to a year crafting the language; each of us bringing in our area of expertise into the language of the document.

The full article can be accessed here.