March 05, 2018

Frances McDormand endorsed the contractual provisions during the Oscars Sunday night.

At the Oscars Sunday night, Best Actress winner Frances McDormand made the “inclusion rider” go viral, but a Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll lawyer has been working for months to write the language for such provisions.

Cohen Milstein partner Kalpana Kotagal has been developing legal language for contract provisions that Hollywood’s elite can use to require studios and other partners to employ diverse workers on set. Kotagal said Monday she stopped watching the Oscars right before McDormand won, so she was shocked to learn about the mention Monday morning.

She said that while she has not personally spoken with McDormand, she and colleagues from the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism have been discussing inclusion riders with Hollywood agents and lawyers for months.

“What we hope is that this kind of change, driven by those with power in the industry, will help to make this the normative practice industry wide,” Kotagal said.

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