A year after he held up the Oscars as symbolic of the lack of opportunities for minorities in Hollywood, the Rev. Jesse Jackson vowed to “continue to apply pressure until the doors open.”
But it was quite different from last year’s Oscars. Jackson did not organize demonstrations as he did last year. Rather, he spoke to reporters on a conference call, and talked about urging government agencies — like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — to take up his fight against discrimination in Hollywood and other pri-vate industry.
“The struggle to open up Hollywood, to open up the telecommunications industry, it will continue,” he said. “It will not be a short-term struggle.”
Jackson’s protest last year came after People magazine published a cover story pointing out that only one nominee was an African-American. Since then, Jackson has met with leaders from Hollywood guilds, as well as executives at CBS and Disney.
“There has been at best moderate improvement,” Jackson said. The only blacks nominated for Oscars this year were winner Cuba Gooding Jr. for “Jerry Maguire” and Marianne Jean-Baptiste for “Secrets & Lies.”
“The resistance to inclusion continues,” Jackson said. And while he has met with thesps to try to combat the prob-lem, “It is interesting how many actors and actresses are intimidated by the supply and demand of jobs,” he said. “You get moderate participation, or not at all.”
Jackson also criticized some TV programs and movies with black casts, including “Booty Call,” saying that they perpetuate stereotypes and can “Balkanize” the audience. Some shows, he said, are written in ebonics, by white writing staffs.
“Therefore a Bill Cosby show remains the exception,” he said.