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Beverly Hills News – Rev. Al Sharpton Plans Oscar Protest In Hollywood

Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2016 – 3:56 PM

(CNS) – The Rev. Al Sharpton plans to be in Hollywood tomorrow, taking part in a protest of the all-white slate of Oscar acting nominees and calling for more diversity in the entertainment industry.

Sharpton’s National Action Network will stage protests in cities across the country, including Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, New York and Washington, D.C.

In Los Angeles, Sharpton will deliver a sermon at the First AME Church’s 144th anniversary celebration at 10 a.m., in which he will address the Oscars controversy. The public is invited. Following the service, Sharpton will hold a press conference in the Allen House Gardens across the street from the church, a few doors down from the former home of the late Hattie McDaniel, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1939’s “Gone With The Wind.”

Later, Sharpton and activists from a variety of civil rights organizations plan to gather at 2 p.m. outside Hollywood High School on Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.

The group plans to “take a unified stand for diversity, inclusion and justice in Hollywood,” and encourage people to “tune out the Oscars.”

“Let’s send a strong message that diversity in the film industry must be more than a hollow promise,” according to an announcement posted by the organization.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came under fire this year when all of the acting nominees turned out to be white. It’s the second year in a row there has been an all-white slate of nominees.

The Academy also snubbed the critically acclaimed film “Straight Outta Compton,” which only received nods for its screenwriters, who are white.

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith — whose husband Will Smith was overlooked for an Oscar for his work in “Concussion” — took to social media to announce her plans to boycott the Academy Awards. Director Spike Lee also lashed out at the Oscars for the all-white nominations.

In late January, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced a series of changes to its voting and membership procedures with the aim of doubling its female and “diverse” membership by 2020.

The Academy’s Board of Governors voted to begin “an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.” It also agreed to establish three new board seats, with those representatives being nominated by the Academy president and approved by the board.

The Academy also plans to add members who do not serve on the Board of Governors to its executive and board committees, “where key decisions about membership and governance are made.”

The Academy also announced changes to its voting procedures, with each new member’s voting status lasting 10 years, and renewed if the member has been active in motion pictures during that time. Members will receive lifetime voting rights after three 10-year terms, or if they have won or been nominated for an Oscar.

The new rules will be applied retroactively to current Academy members. Members who do not qualify for active status will be transitioned to “emeritus status,” under which they do not pay dues and have no voting privileges.

Despite those steps, many industry observers have noted that the diversity problem is not solely with the Academy, but with the entertainment industry at large, with studio decision-makers being primarily white men.


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