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Saturday 24 March 2018

Inclusion rider gaining ground

Frances McDormand raised the issue at the Oscars. Photo: AP
Frances McDormand raised the issue at the Oscars. Photo: AP

Rozina Sabur

Hollywood's next crop of films and TV shows will be more diverse because actors have begun to demand equal pay and opportunities, industry insiders say.

Actors have started ensuring their latest ventures do a better job of representing society with an "inclusion rider" clause, which insists on diverse hiring as a condition of their participation.

The idea has already been taken up by prominent actors - Frances McDormand, the Oscar winner for best actress, caused the phrase to trend on Twitter when she ended her acceptance speech with it.

Michael B Jordan, star of Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther, said his production company Outlier Society would be adopting the initiative. In a statement, he said: "I've been privileged to work with powerful women and persons of colour throughout my career and it's Outlier's mission to continue to create for talented individuals."

The term 'inclusion rider' was developed by Stacy Smith, from the University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who spoke about the concept in a TED talk in 2016.

The initiative is already spreading, with talent agencies reporting the biggest change in years. Ms Smith said she was thrilled to hear McDormand's rallying cry for the term, saying "the message of the industry is going out strong and clear". While some have criticised it as a quota system, its proponents believe it will bring about a real change on screen and will eventually revolutionise the casting process.

Arron Lloyd, who acted in the drama series Blue Bloods, said he believed Black Panther's success had led to networks "understanding the value of actors of colour".


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