Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs Addresses Diversity Controversy on Oscars Red Carpet

'It's all of our responsibility to make sure that diversity does happen.'

Cheryl Boone Isaacs OScars 2016
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Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs addressed the on-going hot-button topic of this year’s Oscar season on the red carpet Sunday afternoon, saying that the org plans to continue taking the reins on addressing a lack of diversity in the film industry.

“Some people thought that we did it rather quickly,” she told ABC’s Robin Roberts, referring to membership overhaul plans revealed in the wake of this year’s Oscar nominees announcement. “But we had been having these discussions and pulling together initiatives for a while now so we were able to speak up at a time that was most important and talk about the action that we are taking. I am here to say we are going to continue to take action and not just speak.”

The comments were in line with Isaacs’ original statement on the matter, in which she said the Academy will “lead and not wait for the industry to catch up.”

Isaacs also said Sunday that an importance will be placed on the Academy membership as an outreach opportunity. “By us making sure that we are being inclusive with all the activities and initiatives that we do, our members are like ambassadors out into the entire motion picture industry, [making] sure that the conversation of inclusion continues, and more than the conversation, that action is taken, and that it’s all of our responsibility to make sure that diversity does happen.”

Roberts also questioned Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. (“An Officer and a Gentleman”) about the “balancing act” of celebrating the nominees while of course paying due attention and respect to the issue of inclusion.

“I feel that we’re not going to get to this ‘promised land’ until we regard one another as part of the whole family, one family, one nation, indivisible,” he said. “That mentality is essential for our salvation. When we look at each other, we are the same family. You don’t have to see black, Latino — we are one family. That’s America.”