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Frances McDormand brings 'inclusion rider' into spotlight

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When Frances McDormand capped her Oscar acceptance speech with a rousing call for inclusion riders, the general reaction was more « huh? » than « hooray! »
LOS ANGELES (AP) – When Frances McDormand capped her Oscar acceptance speech with a rousing call for inclusion riders, the general reaction was more « huh? » than « hooray! »
She was referring to using business contracts as a vehicle to further gender and racial diversity in Hollywood by adding a clause that mandates it.
McDormand, honored as best actress for « Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, » raised the concept’s profile in an instant Sunday night.
« Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed, » she said, adding, « I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider. »
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California explained the concept in a December 2017 paper. It credits initiative founder Stacy Smith as having crafted the rider with employment attorney Kalpana Kotagal.
The rider is « an addendum to a contract that creates conditions for more equitable casting and hiring, focused on developing a diverse talent pipeline in the entertainment industry, » according to the initiative. « This contractual language represents a crucial step in eliminating exclusion of underrepresented or marginalized groups. »
Backstage, McDormand said she just learned of such a possibility last week although she said the opportunity to ask for or demand diversity in cast and crew is not new.
« The fact that I just learned that after 35 years of being in the film business, we’re not going back, » she said.
« It changes now and I think the inclusion rider will have something to do with that, » McDormand said.
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