March 05, 2018

With her acceptance speech for best actress at the Oscars, Frances McDormand highlighted a little-known contract provision actors can use to force Hollywood to diversify its ranks.

The frank-speaking McDormand, after calling for all the female nominees in the room to stand up and be recognized, ended her acceptance speech for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” like this: “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.”

In exchange for agreeing to perform in a movie, the provision gives A-list actors a way to ensure that the studio or filmmakers will make sincere effort to make the cast and crew diverse and inclusive. Performers can specify that smaller parts and behind-the-camera jobs include people from underrepresented groups, with financial penalties for studios that fail to meet the targets.

. . .

The provision was created by Stacy Smith, an associate professor at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and developed along with employment attorney Kalpana Kotagal. Smith wrote in a report last year that actors have the ability to support inclusion at a time when studios are showing little progress.

The complete article can be accessed here.