Amazon Studios, the production company behind the upcoming The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time TV series, recently announced a new inclusion policy.
In a press release announcing the new inclusion policy, Amazon said that this policy “extends its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity for its content and productions.”
Along with the Inclusion Policy, they also rolled out a new manual “to strengthen the continued commitment to diverse and equitable representation”.
According to Amazon, the policy and the playbook “will offer detailed and actionable recommendations as Amazon Studios continues to research stories and narratives that amplify voices across race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation. , age, religion, disability (including mental health), body size, gender, gender identity and gender expression for Prime Video’s global audience.
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Amazon Studios Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Latasha Gillespie, explained the purpose of the new policy and manual.
She said, “Amazon Studios has long focused on telling innovative and inclusive stories from a wide range of creative talent, delighting our global audiences.”
She added: “We wanted to go beyond good intentions to create mechanisms that hold us accountable before a high bar. This Inclusion Policy and Inclusion Guide adds important and additional depth and guidance to our internal teams and external partners to ensure that we continue to advance our shared mission of amplifying the best content and creations at worldwide. “
Amazon Studios Director Jennifer Salke also commented, “With the establishment of our Inclusion Policy and Inclusion Guide, Amazon Studios is committed to being a thought and action leader in the transformation of our industry. “
Salke added, “We know how much work remains to be done to improve the performance both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, and it starts at home, with us. With clear direction and a commitment to accountability, these guides pave the way for a more equitable future, both on and off camera. “
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Specifically, the inclusion policy “covers four main areas: story and character development, hiring and production, reporting and documentation, and goal achievement.”
Regarding specific goals, Amazon detailed that “every movie or series with a creative team of three or more people in above-the-line roles (directors, writers, producers) should ideally include at least 30% of women and 30% members of an under-represented group. racial / ethnic group. This ambitious target will increase to 50% by 2024. “
For the cast, they state: “The cast of actors whose identity (sex, gender identity, nationality, race / ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability) matches the character they will play.”
Related: Amazon’s Wheel of Time Series Race Swaps Egwene, Perrin & Nynaeve
It will be interesting if they actually follow this policy with the Wheel of Time show, given that they have traded most of them for the upcoming show.
It’ll also be interesting to see if they recast Stormfront in The Boys as the character was originally a male in the comics, but was played by Aya Cash in the show’s second season.
They further detailed their casting policy stating that they aimed to “include one character from each of the following categories in speaking roles, with at least 50% of them being female: LGBTQIA +, person with a disability and three races. / regional underrepresented ethnic / cultural groups. A single character can fill one or more of these identities.
These policies will also concern the salesmen and the suppliers on the productions. Amazon says they will seek “at least three offers from sellers or suppliers on productions, one of which must be from a woman-owned business and the other from a minority-owned business.”
Finally, they also state that there will be “pay equity between the cast, behind the staff and the film crew, and for salespeople and suppliers.”
Related: Disney Officially Unveils New ‘Inclusion Key’ For Theme Park Actor Training
In order to hold itself accountable for these goals, Amazon said they will “provide a report template for each production to indicate whether these expectations have been met, which will be submitted within one month after completion of the photograph. main “.
As for the Inclusion Playbook, they state that it “implements intentional practices to minimize and disrupt biases, by providing specific guidance that will help everyone within and working with Amazon Studios to meet the expectations set out in. inclusion policy ”.
They continue: “The Playbook provides guidance on how to make inclusive decisions, while telling authentic stories and hiring the best people for the job; know where to go for help, including tools for making inclusive decisions; tools to identify criteria for making creative choices, leading to balanced, coherent and informed decisions; and ways to stimulate curiosity and ask questions to disrupt the status quo about “how things are done”.
According to Amazon, the policy was developed by radical academics Dr. Stacy Smith and Dr. Katherine Pieper of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. as well as Brenda Robinson of the International Documentary Association and Gamechanger Films.
According to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Twitter feed, they seem to discriminate against white people and see everything through skin color.
As an example, in a December 2020 tweet, they responded to the Netflix Music Documentaries Roundtable by stating, “One of too many white guys.”
Related: Oscars Announce Films Now Must Meet ‘Inclusion Standards’ To Be Eligible For Best Picture Nomination
Amazon also said it has “consulted with leading organizations dedicated to improving the visibility and responsible representations of underrepresented or marginalized people, including GLAAD, Illuminative, Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity, and Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund “.
Smith praised the policy, saying, “Frankly, the results of DCI’s work in the entertainment industry have not been swift or sweeping. This can be attributed in part to fallacious approaches to breaking down the systemic barriers to entry that have long plagued Hollywood. “
She added: “But now Amazon Studios has created a new detailed plan that will change Hollywood by uplifting those who have historically lacked access. I am immensely proud of this new policy and I know it will be a game changer in an industry that is often resistant to real change.
What do you think of Amazon Studios’ new inclusion policy and new inclusion manual?