It’s been about two weeks since Frances McDormand’s ended her Academy Award acceptance speech with two words: Inclusion Rider. At the moment many were left scratching their heads at what this term actually meant. But since then, many other actors, directors, and producers have come out in support of this clause, that until now has flown under the radar.
An inclusion rider is a clause in contracts that can demand projects to have an equal diversity among the cast and crew. The equality will come into play when hiring/casting women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. Stacy L Smith, of Anneburg Inclusion Initiative, first proposed the principle of inclusion riders in 2014, but most people had never heard of it until McDormands rousing speech.
Recently, Hollywood stars like Brie Larson, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Michael B. Jordan, and more have shown support and are vowing to adopt the inclusion rider themselves in future projects. In a social media post Jordan said, “In support of the women and men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the Inclusion Rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society.” The picture included himself along with Alana Mayo, head of the production, and his agent, Phil Sun. “I’ve been privileged to work with powerful women and persons of color throughout my career and it is Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward.”
So, is this the beginning to a more inclusive Hollywood? It’s no secret that women, people of color, and members of the queer community are routinely underrepresented on and off screen in Hollywood. While progression has naturally happened over the years on it’s own, it’s moved at somewhat a glacial pace. With this new clause, however, maybe film and television will actually project what the real world looks like; a place that includes people of all races, genders and preferences.