WarnerMedia is making it known that a commitment to diversity and inclusion is of vital importance for the organization.
The company, which includes Warner Bros, Turner and HBO, unveiled a new company-wide policy today, pledging to make sure a diverse range of actors and crew members are considered for its film, television and digital projects. The policy also notes that the company's goal is to provide "opportunities for individuals from under-represented groups at all levels," and an annual report of its progress will be issued.
"It is essential that our content and creative partners reflect the diversity of our society and the world around us," the statement reads. "Together with other production companies, networks, guilds, unions, talent agencies and others in the industry, we all must ensure there is greater inclusion of women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities and other underrepresented groups in greater numbers both in front of and behind the camera."
The statement came on the same day as the announcement of the first project to launch under the new guidelines. Just Mercy, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Michael B. Jordan, began production in Atlanta. Jordan, who is also an executive producer on the film, and his agent Phillip Sun worked with WarnerMedia to launch the new policy. In a post on his Instagram account, Jordan applauds the company for the new policy, adding that it will help "accomplish our shared objectives." Jordan also noted that Frances McDormand's acceptance speech at the Oscars, where she mentioned the phrase "inclusion rider," made him realize being inclusive and diverse could become a standardized practice in the industry.
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Inclusivity has always been a no-brainer for me, especially as a black man in this business. It wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire — inclusion rider — that I realized we could standardize this practice. Earlier this year I formally pledged my production company, Outlier Society, to this way of doing business. And today, the @warnermediagroup family has announced a new policy that accomplishes our shared objectives. I applaud them for taking this enormous step forward and I’m proud that our film, Just Mercy, — which begins production today — will be the first to formally represent the future we have been working toward, together. This is just the beginning...
Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros' chairman and CEO, shared his pride in the company's policy. "Our policy commits us to taking concrete action to further our goals, to measure the outcomes and to share the results publicly," Tsujihara said.
The policy is a major step in the right direction for Hollywood, and could prompt other companies to consider their own internal policies regarding diversity and inclusion. As WarnerMedia stated, "there is much more we can do, and we believe real progress can be made in the industry."