Despite hiring funnyman Chris Rock to host the 2016 Oscars, it was immediately noted that the nominee list was eerily whitewashed. After facing backlash on social media and from top celebrities such as Don Cheadle, Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, some of whom intend to boycott the program, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a public relations crisis statement suggesting it was time for a change and the conversation about the “lack of inclusion” was difficult but important. Her letter states, “In 2016 the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets; gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.”
To accompany her words, which were released on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s holiday, a stream of African American actors with Oscar history were plastered on the Academy’s Instagram and Twitter pages.
While Boone Isaacs’ words may have been heartfelt, it appears they fell on deaf ears. Only after the verbal protests of some of Hollywood’s brightest stars did she feel inclined to address the issue. By the time she released her statement, the damage had already been done. I am not sure if Boone Isaacs would’ve sensed anything wrong with the exclusion of minority actors time and time again if the exclusion wasn’t noted by African American actors who drive revenue.
See Boone Isaacs’ full statement below. Do you think her statement is the beginning of change for the Oscars?