Inclusion rider inventor Stacy Smith says hiring practices have to change for equity in Hollywood

FP Staff

April 20, 2018 12:11:28 IST

Until this year's Oscars, not many knew what an "inclusion rider" was until Frances McDormand brought up the obscure bit of legalese in her Best Actress acceptance speech.

For those still unacquainted with the concept, the gist is this: powerful actors and film makers could use their star power to get a studio to hire more women, LGBT people, disabled people and people from racial minorities to the cast and crew by stipulating it as a rider in their contract.

Stacy Smith during a TED talk

Stacy Smith during a TED talk. TED

Stacy Smith, a communications professor at the University of Southern California, mentioned the "inclusion rider” idea in a 2016 talk on the lack of diversity in the film industry. In a panel discussion organised by Select Management Group on Wednesday, she discusses how she came up with the novel idea. "I just thought to myself, the people who care about inclusion the most in Hollywood are typically the actors. What if we got the top actors to leverage their power? I was originally thinking on screen. You might not realise how bad it is. Across the top 100 films last year, less than a third of all speaking characters are girls and women," she said (as reported by Variety).

Smith emphasises on the importance of changing hiring practices if we need to change the currently "closed system." She hopes for significant changes in the way auditions, interviews and castings are arranged.

Since McDormand's speech, many actor-producers like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Michael B Jordan have all announced that they will adopt the inclusion rider agreement in all their future production deals.

Updated Date: Apr 20, 2018 12:11 PM