What Frances McDormand Meant When She Said: 'Inclusion Rider'
“We all have stories to tell, and we all have projects we need to finance.”
When Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress Sunday night, she placed her trophy on the ground and led the audience in a powerful exercise.
She asked every woman in the theater to stand up, look around, and consider the power of female artists and filmmakers.
“Look around, everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell, and we all have projects we need to finance,” McDormand said.
But she left many viewers confused when she ended her speech with the two words “inclusion rider.” Here’s what she meant:
An inclusion rider is a clause in a contract that requires cast and crew on a film meet a certain level of diversity, the Guardian reports. An inclusion rider means movie studios must interview and hire more women, more people of color, and more people representing other marginalized groups.
The concept was created by Stacy Smith, director of the Annenberg Inclusion Institute. Smith shared her idea as part of a 2016 TED talk.
“Across the top 100 films of , 48 films didn't feature one black or African-American speaking character, not one,” Smith said. “Seventy films were devoid of Asian or Asian-American speaking characters that were girls or women. None. Eighty-four films didn't feature one female character that had a disability. And 93 were devoid of lesbian, bisexual or transgender female speaking characters.”
“This is not underrepresentation,” she continued. “This is erasure, and I call this the epidemic of invisibility”
Smith’s solution? An “inclusion rider.”
An “inclusion rider” is a clause in an actor’s contract that requires the cast and crew be diverse in order to retain the actor. That’s kind of a brave thing to say on such a big stage.— Phillip Atiba Goff (@DrPhilGoff) March 5, 2018
To clarify further: It’s brave because you’re saying up front, “If you won’t commit to inclusion, I won’t take your money.” And it matters because it puts pressure on a studio’s bottom line. Props to Frances McDormand. For real.— Phillip Atiba Goff (@DrPhilGoff) March 5, 2018
Like McDormand, Global Citizen campaigns on equal opportunities for women and other marginalized individuals. You can take action here.
An inclusion rider in a major star’s contract can go a long way to making sure their fellow cast members reflect diverse demographics, Smith said.
And A-listers have already begun signing onto the inclusion rider idea to ensure diversity in their films.
I’m committed to the Inclusion Rider. Who’s with me? https://t.co/yvQ0wR5D80— Brie Larson (@brielarson) March 5, 2018