SAG-AFTRA: ‘We Do Not Have Enough People of Color’ in Leadership Roles

Courtesy of SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA’s top executive has called on Hollywood to increase the numbers of people of color in leadership roles to address the industry’s diversity problem.

David White, national executive director of the performers union, issued the comments in the wake of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took steps to double the numbers of minorities in the Academy by 2020. The diversity issue has been at the forefront of Hollywood since the Jan. 14 announcement of Oscar nominations, which didn’t include any non-white actors.

White, who is African-American and has headed the union since 2009, singled out AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and exec director Dawn Hudson in his comments.

“I think it is appropriate to applaud Cheryl and Dawn, who I know care a lot about this and ensured that it got to the top of the agenda as quickly as it did,” said White. “However, this is only one step and the truth is we have a pipeline problem. We do not have enough people of color in the pipeline of decision making.”

SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said, “I applaud the Academy on these steps. They’re doing some smart things that will enhance inclusion and promote diversity. That’s a good start.”

Mike Hodge, the union’s New York president, said it was “insane” that the exclusion issue remains in 2016.

“As a black actor, I was extremely frustrated that another Academy nominees slate overlooked not just good, but great, diverse performances,” he said. “It’s insane that we still grapple with the issue of inclusion in 2016. This has to change. It must be acknowledged that the Academy’s leadership has taken important steps to begin that change and I am grateful for and applaud their efforts.”

The SAG Awards nominations included the cast of “Straight Outta Compton” as one of the five casts up for its ensemble prize and Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation” in the supporting actor category.

“This is not about who shouldn’t be on the list. I salute all of the Academy nominees on their performances this year,” Hodge added. “Their work is excellent. They are SAG-AFTRA members, and many were recognized with SAG Awards nominations. However, several diverse actors also were nominated for SAG Awards. We are proud of that diversity and it will be on display when our show airs Jan. 30.”

Hodge said that the recognition from the SAG nominations was not enough, adding, “We can not rest until our work and the recognitions and honors awarded for it, reflect the true diversity of performers and their ​performances.”

On Monday, Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay blasted Hollywood executives for failing to take enough action to address the lack of employment for women and minorities.

White’s comments were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

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  1. Nanny Mo says:

    But Saggy, already has a racist policy that if you put so many blacks in a film you get a break. How can quotas and diversity be anything but diverse and be seen as racist? I don’t want to watch a film and say in my head, “Oh, look there’s the token black actress we had to have for the quota.” I want to see the talent and know it was earned. This is wrong and will not lead to good will in time.

  2. Just the Facts says:

    It’s nice to see SAG-AFTRA ahead of the curve when it comes to valuing diversity and women. Just a quick look at the top tier staff:

    National Exec Director: African American
    Assoc. National Exec Dir: African American
    Chief Contracts Officer: Latino American
    A quick scan of the rest of the top executives reveals plenty of women and other people of color.

    Likewise, elected show the same admirable diversity:

    President: okay, he’s a token Caucasian
    Exec Vice President: Woman
    Sec-Treasurer: Woman
    National VP Los Angeles: Asian America
    National VP New York: African American

    Glad that SAG-AFTRA is speaking out on this important topic.

  3. lindsey says:

    “SAG-AFTRA’s top executive has called on Hollywood to increase the numbers of people of color in leadership roles to address the industry’s diversity problem.” CALL THE PRESIDENT OF HOLLYWOOD RIGHT NOW LOL

  4. eqquesz says:

    But there is a whole line of Jews and Jewish executive products to choose from…….

    • cadavra says:

      Jews essentially invented show business because even after they were permitted to become doctors, lawyers, etc., they could not gain acceptance into established practices and firms, and so had to create their own industry. You literally have no idea how deep anti-Semitism ran in this country until the waning days of World War II.

    • fredw says:

      Yeah. f*king jews. They didn’t build the movie industry by working their a*ses off.
      They built it by nonstop whining.

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