Warner Bros. first entertainment company to implement this drastic diversity initiative
Warner Bros. announced its commitment to a large-scale diversity initiative across all its sister companies Wednesday, building on the relatively new idea of an “inclusion rider” to promote diversity in all areas of film and television production, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The effort, led in part by actor Michael B. Jordan, will go into effect immediately and impact all WarnerMedia companies, including HBO and Turner.
“Our policy commits us to taking concrete action to further our goals, to measure the outcomes and to share the results publicly,” Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara said in a statement.
What are they doing?
The point of the effort is to ensure that minority candidates are considered for jobs in all aspects of a production, whether the person is a crew member, actor, director or otherwise.
WarnerMedia will collaborate with unions, guilds, agencies and other companies to make sure that underrepresented groups get consideration for jobs. Underrepresented groups could include women, LGBTQ people, those with disabilities, and racial minorities.
Jordan’s film “Just Mercy” will be the first production under the new diversity policy, which is fitting considering how strong an advocate Jordan has been for inclusion riders and similar policies.
“Inclusivity has always been a no-brainer for me, especially as a black man in this business,” Jordan said. “It wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire — inclusion rider — that I realized we could standardize this practice.”
McDormand mentioned inclusion riders at the Academy Awards. It is a rider in an actor’s contract that demands that the cast and crew of a production be diverse according to a demographic formula. For example, Michael B. Jordan might say he will only work on a movie if a certain number of black people are in it, or a certain number of women are a part of the production crew.
Are these efforts legal?
While some have questioned the legality of contracts that require certain hiring based on racial or other demographic characteristics, WarnerMedia’s policy doesn’t go quite as far as an inclusion rider — it doesn’t include hiring requirements, just a collaborative effort to consider diverse candidates.