The Television Academy, curator of the Emmy Awards, announced on Thursday that it will partner with a consulting firm, emphasising the need for “diversification and a focus on equity and inclusion in the entertainment industry”.
The step followed the debacle at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards that came under fire from the Time’s Up organisation for its non-inclusivity.
The statement referred to the partnership with ReadySet, the launch of “comprehensive evaluation across the organisation” with Frank Scherma, Television Academy chairman, saying, “We recognise the power of television to tell our stories, shape our conversations and influence the way that we see the world. For this reason, it’s important that our industry reflect the world at large on- and off-screen. Now, more than ever, we believe we must increase visibility, equity and power for those marginalised and underrepresented in our industry. For the Academy, that work starts with our membership, leadership and staff.”
“This mandate is critical for the Academy to not only advocate but be a leader for the industry in the drive for inclusion. With the confluence of many factors and movements—the pandemic, BLM, social justice and me-too—change is more imperative than ever; and it’s important that we are listening, and we act,” Scherma added.
The evaluation process will begin with a series of membership, leadership, and staff surveys to assess staff composition, attitudes and perceptions, and ways of improving the current practices. These internal changes, the body believes, will also set a precedent for the industry.
ReadySet’s CEO and founder Y-Vonne Hutchinson said, “We commend this proactive stance by the Academy and are delighted to partner in this effort. Television, as a medium, has the ability to inspire us, reflect us and unite us. We believe the Television Academy is uniquely positioned to drive impactful change across the industry. We’re looking forward to working with its leadership team and membership to assist in charting a constructive and meaningful results-oriented path forward.”
This year, while four Black artists won the Golden Globe in their respective categories, only six of them were nominated, including Viola Davis and Don Cheadle, highlighting the question of inclusivity of Black artists in both the nominations, as well the organising committee, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), comprising 87 members.
Times’s Up president Tina Tchen called the association’s stand “cosmetic” and that it cannot be fixed and wrote two letters regarding the same, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. It gained traction after the Los Angeles Times published a report exposing the HFPA of its hostility towards members from non-Black communities as well.
Consequently, the Golden Globes released a clip towards the conclusion of the event with the current HFPA president Ali Sar, former president Meher Tatna, and vice-president Helen Hoehne, speaking about Black representation and how vital it is to include Black journalists in the HFPA.
Moreover, Netflix, as part of its inclusion program beginning 2020, released its first Inclusivity Report in January, that offered a peek into the workforce diversity and trends since 2017, when the idea was first conceived. It urges each employee to look at every decision and idea in mind, in terms of inclusion.
Calling it the “inclusion lens”, the report states certain steps towards representation that goes beyond the screen. These include recruiting from the under-represented communities such as the Latinos, veteran employees, and Hispanics, hiring more women in the upper ranks, creating accessibility, providing equitable pay and inclusive benefits across genders, and building networks, to name a few.