The Inclusion Rider – How Frances McDormand made history with her Oscars sign off

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Frances McDormand changed history at the Oscars on Sunday when she signed off her acceptance speech for her momentous Best Actress win for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’ with; ‘I have two words to leave you with tonight, ladies and gentlemen: ‘inclusion rider’.

The internet was sent into a frenzy of confusion asking ‘What exactly is an inclusion rider?’ with articles appearing across the media from The Daily Mail to NME to Vogue.

It turns out, it’s pretty damn important.

The concept was initially proposed by University of Southern California professor and founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Stacy Smith who led the discussion for the first time during a TED Talk in 2016.

The mysterious Inclusion Rider is essentially an equity clause in a contract requiring that both the cast and crew of a film should accurately reflect the demography of the films location or subject matter.

In other words, Johnny Depp would have had nothing to do with Gore Verbinski’s 2013 short sighted trainwreck ‘The Lone Ranger’.

It would mean that anyone involved in a film can ask for or even demand at least 50% diversity throughout those involved in the project.

By using her platform to throw a very bright light on to this potentially historic concept, McDormand has made it very difficult for Hollywood to continue to ignore the lack of diversity within the film and television industry.

Hollywood has already reacted with ‘Black Panther’ star Michael B. Jordan announcing that he will commit to incorporating an ‘Inclusion Rider’ in all future projects made by his production company Outlier Society saying ‘I’ve been privileged to work with powerful women and persons of colour throughout my career’.

If Hollywood widely adopts Inclusion Riders into their contracts, we could potentially see one solution to the historic and ingrained diversity problem.

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