Stacey Abrams has set the record straight: she was not offered a position in the Biden White House, nor has she made a decision about her next political campaign.
“I know there’s a governor’s race coming up, but I’m working on making sure we have democracy in Georgia,” she said Friday during “Women in Focus: Women, Big Tech and the Future of Hollywood,” a panel hosted by Chapman’s Dodge College and Glamour magazine.
Abrams emphasized her belief that boycotts over the Peach State’s recent voter legislation laws will hurt more than help marginalized communities. “My deep concern that is if we call for a boycott, the very people who are helping change the nature of economic opportunity and political opportunity will leave us behind,” she said. “So my message is stay and fight. Come and lift up your voices and join us.”
Featured alongside Abrams were Eva Longoria, Samantha Bee, Glamour editor-in-chief Samantha Barry, Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke and Walt Disney Television chairman of entertainment Dana Walden. Time magazine’s Janice Min moderated.
“I do think big tech has the ability to democratize access and creation and distribution, but it’s not going to do it of its own volition,” Abrams said, noting the connection between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. “There’s going to have to be intentionality, management and accountability to make it so.”
Part of that democratization includes diversifying creators along the production pipeline, all the way up to the most powerful gatekeepers.
“[Diversity] programs have to lead to jobs… it has to lead to ‘now I’m on a show and I’m writing now,’” Longoria explained. “There’s a hierarchy in Hollywood. You have to come through the rungs of the ladder, not only for yourself, but for union stuff. You can’t be a first AD until you’ve been a PA, so we have to teach that infrastructure to communities of color.”
Given the conversation around power and hierarchy, the panelists discussed so-called “cancel culture” and agreed on the needed emphasis on humanity and forgiveness (which does not apply to Rep. Matt Gaetz, Bee said). Abrams laid out an essential list of steps: remorse, restitution, redemption.
“You’ve got to give people a way to come back because often when they come back, they are better people for it and they do even more because they’re constantly in the process of restitution,” Abrams said.