March 13, 2018

Frances McDormand has lit a fire under Hollywood.

It all started at the Oscars, when she challenged her colleagues with a two-word call to action: "Inclusion rider."

What is that, exactly? Inclusion rider is a term first coined by Stacy L. Smith, director of USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative, and civil rights attorney Kalpana Kotagal.

It's true that stars have been fighting for parity and inclusion on a case-by-case basis for years. Look at any of Ava DuVernay's productions, including the just-released Wrinkle in Time, which re-envisioned white characters from the book with a multiracial cast (and provided opportunities for minorities in jobs throughout her set); Ryan Murphy's Half Initiative, which has committed to creating equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera; or Jessica Chastain's recent "favored nations" negotiation for her upcoming holiday comedy with Octavia Spencer, which matched Spencer's salary to hers.

But in 2014, Smith put forth that A-list actors can incorporate a clause in their contracts stipulating that inclusion — both in front of the camera and behind the scenes for crew members — be reflected in films. The inclusion rider states that women, people of color, people with disabilities and members of LGBTQ and marginalized communities who are traditionally underrepresented be depicted onscreen in proportion to their representation in the population.

According to Vanity Fair, in the midst of the Me Too reckoning growing nationwide last fall, Smith and Kotagal began pitching the concept to major talent agencies in Hollywood.

The complete article can be accessed here.