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Actors at Emmys Diversity Event Talk Leslie Moonves Ouster, Impeaching Trump

Dancer Chloe Arnold, who’s choreographed segments for CBS shows, spoke about CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves’ ouster following numerous allegations of sexual assault.

Arnold, who works on “The Talk” and who was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy Award for her choreography on “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” said “whatever [Moonves’] behavior is, I can say that, fortunately, it’s not impacting me.”

“I feel very, very thankful that [on] my show and on my team, there is incredible ethics. I am treated like gold and respected as such,” Arnold told Variety at the 6th annual Dynamic and Diverse Emmy Celebration on Tuesday. “I’ve had the best, most respected experiences [on two CBS shows]. So I hope that those kinds of ethics also reach the top.”

While not commenting on CBS’ decision not to publicize the details of the investigations into Moonves’ behavior, she said that to effect change, “the people who are not oppressed, the people who are not the victims, have to speak up.”

Other actors at the event, which was hosted by the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA, were outspoken about the political climate. Antonio Jaramillo, an actor on FX’s new series “Mayans M.C.,” said his show is “97% Hispanics” and did not hold back against President Donald Trump.

“He lies all the time and then he says he didn’t. It’s like a child in the White House,” he said. “I don’t know how anyone can support a man like this. … The lying, the corruption, the divisiveness. He’s dividing people when he’s supposed to connect us.”m

He went on to say that to get Trump out of office, people must hit the polls in November and “vote Blue Blue Blue Blue Blue. So we can impeach this man and get somebody else in the White House.”

Brandon Victor Dixon, who was Emmy-nominated for his role in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” spoke out against mass incarceration and its relation to the current immigration crisis that sees children and families detained and/or deported.

“I’ve been trying to make people understand is that in order to scale … a detention operation of that size, you already have to have in place, a system of detention, incarceration that you can access,” Dixon said. “We regularly separate families, legal citizens of this country as well, and that’s something we need to keep in mind.”

Brandon P. Bell, from Netflix’s “Dear White People,” said the show’s cast took direct action to implement change, by creating a scholarship to honor Jordan Edwards, an African-American teenager killed by police. The series often tackles subjects like #BlackLivesMatter that reflect what is happening in the real world, and the cast wanted to give back beyond just “talking or tweeting about it.”

Other actors at the event discussed ways they or others can start dialogue, such as by marching or turning to social media. Many sung the praises of the hit film “Crazy Rich Asians” and the significance of showing up for other minorities. Nico Santos, who played Oliver T’sien in “Crazy Rich Asians,” said the film’s massive success had an immediate positive effect in the entertainment world. People are now mentioning the film when pitching their own ideas and new projects are being greenlit because of it, Santos said.

Other actors said the current rate of representation is not enough, when addressing the recent study that found that black women accounted for only 19% of speaking roles on TV, and Latinas for 7%. “American Horror Story” actress Adina Porter said she looks forward to a time when representing women of color “won’t be a topic,” but instead widespread.

However, some actors said they are happy about the direction Hollywood is heading in, when it comes to equal representation for women and people of color. “The Alienist” star Q’orianka Kilcher, who is of indigenous descent, said her character was originally written with blonde hair and blue eyes in mind, but she got the part because the director recommended her.

“Every step is a step in the right direction. We have a long way to go, but I think it’s beautiful that people are starting to get hired because of the great work they do, rather than being confined within the parameters of just their looks,” Kilcher said.

Whether it’s #MeToo, diverse representation, or immigration, Dixon said it’s important for people in the industry to stand for something: “Right now, if we’re not advocating for somebody or something, we have to ask ourselves what we really are doing. And the fact of the matter is, the more we fight for each other, the less we’ll have to fight for ourselves.”

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