How inclusion riders can play a key role in the Time’s Up movement’s success

Photo of How inclusion riders can play a key role in the Time’s Up movement’s success

In one of the most powerful moments of the 2018 Oscars, Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, and Annabella Sciorra took to the stage to introduce a video montage celebrating trailblazing creators in Hollywood. Before introducing moving clips of the year’s groundbreaking and record-setting creators, the three actresses and Harvey Weinstein accusers took a moment to honor the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements at the awards show.

“Many spoke their truth and the journey ahead is long, but slowly a new path has emerged,” Judd insisted from the stage. “We work together to make sure that the next 90 years empower these limitless possibilities of equality, diversity, inclusion, intersectionality. That’s what this year has promised us.”

But in the fight ahead, we must remember that Hollywood has previously been promised reckonings that didn’t actually come.

In the video montage that followed the stars’ stirring speeches, Hollywood legend Geena Davis — Hollywood legend and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media — reflected back on another moment in entertainment history that could have been, but failed to be, different.

When speaking of her groundbreaking 1991 film Thelma & Louise, Davis described hoping that film’s success would be a turning point for women’s representation on screen — but not much has changed for women or other marginalized groups in Hollywood.

Despite the fact Thelma & Louise was a commercial success poised to turn the tides and make more space for inclusivity in Hollywood, “That didn’t happen,” Davis said in the montage. She went on to explain that, thanks to the efforts of campaigns like Time’s Up and #MeToo, “this is now that moment.”

The promise of a more diverse landscape in entertainment is thrilling, but in order to make sure the film industry — and our culture in general — becomes a more equal place for all, a lot of work needs to be done.

If we don’t want Time’s Up and #MeToo to be another missed opportunity for gender diversity in film, here are five things we should expect from Hollywood.

1. Take Frances McDormand’s advice.

During her rousing acceptance speech for Best Actress for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, McDormand called on Hollywood to help marginalized groups get their voices heard and their projects funded. “We all have stories to tell,” McDormand urged. “Invite us into your offices and we’ll tell you all about them.”

She left the audience, and viewers at home, with two words: inclusion rider, or a clause in an entertainment contract that demands a certain level of diversity in the movie’s cast and crew in order to retain the actor or actress. If the entertainment industry has any hope of moving in a more inclusive direction, the people with power on set — often A-list actors and actresses — need to be willing to use their power to uplift others. An inclusion rider is a great place to start.

2. Hollywood needs to put their money where their mouth is.

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