Frances McDormand left a lot of Academy Awards viewers confused when she ended her best actress acceptance speech with two unfamiliar words: “inclusion rider.”
It turns out the phrase was also new to McDormand, who only heard about it for the first time the week before her Oscar win. It’s an addendum to a contract that “sets clear goals for inclusion” in Hollywood by defining the underrepresented groups that should be focused on, establishing casting and hiring objectives, and then laying out steps for auditioning and interviewing that can help obtain those objectives.
Want to learn more about the #InclusionRider? Here’s why we need it and what it is. From the people responsible for it: @KalpanaKotagal @fanshen @Inclusionists. Contact us to learn more. @THR @Variety @latimes pic.twitter.com/uAl42sIZgJ— Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (@Inclusionists) March 5, 2018
The idea is big-name actors, directors and investors would add an inclusion rider to their contracts when signing on to a project, using their clout to ensure a diverse environment both on screen and behind the scenes.
But what would abiding by an inclusion rider look like in practice? How likely is it they will become commonplace, and are there any reasons a studio wouldn’t want to work under one?
And if you work in the entertainment industry, what are your thoughts on the concept? Could inclusion riders help diversify sets? Would you ever use one yourself?
Stacy Smith, co-inventor of the concept of the inclusion rider; founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, a think tank at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism that studies diversity and inclusion in entertainment
Kalpana Kotagal, co-inventor of the concept of the inclusion rider; civil rights and employment practice attorney at Cohen Milstein in Washington D.C.