September 05, 2018

Warner Bros. and its affiliates announced a companywide policy Wednesday that aims to ensure greater participation in film and television projects from women, people of color and other groups that have been historically underrepresented in the entertainment industry.

WarnerMedia companies, which include Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Broadcasting, touted the policy package as the latest step in a longtime commitment to diversity and inclusion, and they highlighted the importance for the company as well as its production partners, unions and other players in the industry to ensure greater inclusion of underrepresented groups, which also include LGBTQ individuals and people with disabilities.

The policy by WarnerMedia, an entity that was formed following the recent $85 billion tie-up between AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc., includes a range of measures both before and during production to promote diversity in front of the camera and behind the scenes. The company also said it will issue annual reports on its progress but didn’t specify the criteria that would be used to measure that progress.

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Inclusion riders refer to legal language that actors or others with negotiating power can insert into their contracts requiring studios to make a good-faith effort to hire more historically underrepresented groups in both on-screen and off-screen roles.

“It wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire — inclusion rider — that I realized we could standardize this practice,” Jordan said in a statement posted to his social media accounts Wednesday. “It allowed me to formally pledge my production company, Outlier Society, to a way of doing business. The WarnerMedia family has introduced an approach that accomplishes our shared objectives, and I applaud them for taking this enormous step forward.”

Kalpana Kotagal, a civil rights and employment partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC who co-wrote the inclusion rider, said in a statement Wednesday that it “creates an opportunity for leaders like [Jordan] and Warner Bros. to use their powers for good, bringing inclusion and diversity to an industry that has traditionally lacked both.”

“Commitments like this are exactly what the inclusion rider was designed to galvanize, both in Hollywood and far beyond,” Kotagal said.

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