An increasing number of celebs say they’ll adopt the equality clause popularized at the Oscars by Frances McDormand
The inclusion rider is becoming this year’s hot ticket.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street Films production company will adopt the equality clause popularized by Frances McDormand at this month’s Oscars, according to its head of strategic outreach. “On behalf of Pearl Street Films, Matt Damon, @BenAffleck, Jennifer Todd, Drew Vinton & I will be adopting the #InclusionRider for all of our projects moving forward,” actor-producer Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni tweeted this week.
An inclusion rider is a clause demanding gender and racial equity for minor roles and below-the-line, off-camera jobs. It’s one way to boost diversity and representation in film of women, minorities, LGBTQ people and the differently abled, says its architect, University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative founder Stacy Smith.
The longtime collaborators have each come under scrutiny during the #MeToo reckoning: Damon apologized after his comments on the “spectrum of behavior” of sexual misconduct drew widespread rebuke in December, while Affleck faced multiple allegations of groping.
Pearl Street’s announcement came in response to actor Michael B. Jordan’s production company, Outlier Society, throwing its weight behind the inclusion rider. “I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward,” Jordan posted on Instagram earlier this month.
Paul Feig, the director behind “Freaks and Geeks” and “Bridesmaids,” also tweeted this week that his Feigco Entertainment would adopt the rider for all future TV and film productions — telling the Guardian the move was “just common sense” and suggesting those who chose not to jump on board were “moving backward, not forward.”
“I’m committed to the Inclusion Rider. Who’s with me?” tweeted Oscar winner Brie Larson after McDormand plugged the rider during her best actress speech. Singer Janelle Monae, actress Tessa Thompson and comedian Whitney Cummings have also voiced support for the rider on social media.
Netflix, meanwhile, does not plan to incorporate the rider into contracts, according to USA Today. “We’re not so big on doing everything through agreements,” CEO Reed Hastings reportedly said. “We’re trying to do things creatively.”
Smith, the USC professor, previously told Moneyish she hoped talent agencies would take a “leadership position” in adopting the rider. “I’m waiting for the agencies to call and make a public pledge to adopt, because that would be the home run — not just for the industry, but for all those folks who tune in and don’t see themselves represented,” she said. “This could be a major leap forward for making sure storytelling is as inclusive as the world we live in.”
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