MTV Entertainment Group Debuts ‘Culture Code’ Inclusion Initiative With GLAAD, RAINN and Other Partners

I Want My MTV
Candy Kugel

ViacomCBS’ MTV Entertainment Group is launching Culture Code, a diversity, equity and inclusion orientation for its staff, talent and production partners, in a bid to “construct a communal set of values, understanding and baseline cultural norms to create a more inclusive and welcoming creative community.”

A slew of social justice groups have partnered with the entertainment company on this initiative: The Museum of Tolerance, Color of Change, Anti-Defamation League, The Jed Foundation, MPAC, RAINN, RespectAbility, Storyline Partners and GLAAD.

“We live in an increasingly divisive world and yet as storytellers, we believe in the power of content to give the gift of empathy and understanding,” said Chris McCarthy, president of ViacomCBS’ MTV Entertainment Group, formerly known as the entertainment and youth group. “We’re developing our Culture Code to nurture our creative community and outline a communal set of values, respect and mutual understanding that centers around the celebration of inclusion and diversity in everything we do. We are humbled to be doing it in partnership with an incredible set of organizations who have dedicated their own lives to changing the world for good.”

MTV Entertainment Group will debut this internal training at the end of the year, before expanding the rollout in early 2021. Deadline first reported the news.

“Color Of Change is proud to join ViacomCBS’ MTV Entertainment Group in its new initiative to provide the entertainment industry with a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and inclusive education,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. “It will take partnerships like this to transform the media landscape and create a more humane, less hostile world for Black people, in which they are empowered to create their art and thrive. The legacy of racism in Hollywood is long and unforgivable: excluding Black talent, silencing Black voices, derailing Black careers, and using the economic power of the industry to prop up police departments in the very real world. The work of Culture Code is an important step in challenging and eliminating racism within the industry and the content it produces.”

Among the initiative’s other partners, RespectAbility vice president Lauren Appelbaum said that “most initiatives historically did not include disability… We applaud ViacomCBS for recognizing the importance of this.”

Storyline Partners program director Sanaz Alesafar said that “the current moment supports our calls to have media, content, and cultural production be anti-racist, intersectional, and ecologically considerate.”

And GLAAD chief communications officer Rich Ferraro noted that “so many of the most powerful early media images of LGBTQ people appeared on MTV and ViacomCBS’ brands. With Culture Code, the MTV Entertainment Group is once again raising the bar for how the industry should work with and include our community.”