Gayle King on #OscarsSoWhite: ‘It’s Important to Show Up’ and Not Boycott the Telecast

Gayle King, co-anchor of CBS’s “This Morning,” is the latest to sound off on the lack of diversity at the Oscars. With the spread of the #OscarsSoWhite criticism and stars such as Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee announcing they won’t attend this year’s ceremony, King welcomes the heated discussion, but deems an Oscar boycott to be counterproductive.

“It’s a personal decision to go or not to go, but I believe that it’s important to show up,” King, 61, said at the National Cares Mentoring Movement’s inaugural “For the Love of Our Children” gala in New York on Monday evening. “The problem with the Oscars is bigger than the Oscars, bigger than the nominations. It really is a systemic problem. But, if I were nominated, I would be there. I don’t know if boycotting is the way to send the right message. I want them to know that we are here, we care and changes need to be made.”

For the second year in a row, people of color were shut out of the acting categories and all of the films nominated for best picture focus on stories about white people. King — an avid moviegoer — has seen “Straight Outta Compton” and “Creed” and believes the African American actors and filmmakers from both films deserved to have been recognized.

“I saw a lot of possibilities of people that could be nominated,” she said. “If you look at a lot of the movies, there were a lot of options. So, it just shows to me that we have a lot of work to do in Hollywood.”

King praises celebrities like George Clooney, David Oyelowo and Mark Ruffalo for calling for change. She also applauds the Academy pledging to make “historic” changes to its mostly white, mostly male, membership, by doubling the number of women and minority voters by 2020.

“It’s very encouraging to see already that people are speaking up in Hollywood. People know there is a problem and I think most people want to fix it. So I remain very optimistic,” said King. “I think Ice Cube said it really well. He said, ‘I’m disappointed, but I’m not discouraged.’ And that’s exactly how I feel. You can’t get discouraged. Change doesn’t come without being discouraged.”

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