In her Oscars acceptance speech, Frances McDormand made an unusual request: She wants Hollywood actors to put inclusion riders in their contracts.
That kind of clause would require producers to cast actors who represent the demographics of where the film takes place. They would consider actors' gender, race, sexual orientation and physical abilities. The riders could also stipulate that the producers try to hire a diverse behind-the-scenes crew, according to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, a think tank that studies diversity in entertainment. The initiative is part of the University of Southern California Annenberg's School for Communication and Journalism.
"The goal here is really to disrupt the bias that takes place in auditioning and casting on screen, and interviewing and hiring below the line, behind the camera," USC professor Stacy L. Smith told CNN on Monday. She was one of the concept's creators*, and she has researched the underrepresention of women and minorities in films.
"I think our goal as a team as we've been working on this is really the hope that the agencies will make this an option for every actor, male and female, from all backgrounds," she added.
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*Cohen Milstein's Kalpana Kotagal co-wrote the inclusion rider with Professor Smith.