During Frances McDormand's Oscar acceptance speech on Sunday night, she mentioned that Hollywood could solve their sexual harassment problem if companies had something called an "Inclusion Rider."
Less than a week after McDormand's pronouncement, actor Michael B. Jordan ("Black Panther") has announced that his newly-founded production company will have an actual "Inclusion Rider."
“In support of the women & men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the Inclusion Rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society,” Jordan wrote in an Instagram post.
"I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward," he said.
Okay, so what on earth is an inclusion rider? Coined by Dr. Stacy Smith in a 2014 op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter, an inclusion rider dictates that top actors can contractually demand that film projects "reflect the world we actually live in by requiring diversity on screen and behind the camera," according to HuffPost.
“We are thrilled that Michael B. Jordan has signed on to this effort and committed to the inclusion rider,” Smith told HuffPost. “He and the members of his team are true leaders. We hope other actors and content creators will follow their lead and make inclusion something that is embedded in all of their projects.”
According to the description of an inclusion rider, if an actor demands that the film reflect "the world we live in" exactly, then according to demographic statistics, a movie should be 75% white, 18% Latino, 13% black, and 5% Asian.
Obviously, that is a ridiculous number and removes the fact that some stories require more of one race than the other. Some stories (like "Black Panther") require more black actors while other stories (like "Lord of the Rings") are predominantly white. Some have a mixture of the two ("Men In Black"). Some stories require a diverse cast while others do not.
Also, the average movie has about four lead roles at the max. How many of those should go to a minority versus supporting roles? Should all four leads be of a different race? Does that honestly reflect "real life"? Should a movie about a Jewish family in the holocaust have a multi-racial cast based on the dictates of an inclusion rider? How many minority characters should be cast in a movie set during the European middle-ages?
The answer to those questions is simple: there will be no more movies about Jewish families in the holocaust or movies set in the Middle-Ages or a "Lord of the Rings" because diversity initiatives will demand that those projects be shelved the moment they come across an executive's desk.
As to placing more talent behind the camera that reflect the "world we live in," affirmative action in those cases will have the same effect as affirmative action in the real world. Simply put: less-qualified people will be elevated to positions based solely on their race or gender while qualified individuals will be docked for not meeting that diversity quota. Just take a look at season two of "Jessica Jones," which "included" all female directors by excluding all male directors.
That's not fair competition. That's not even competition. Everybody deserves the opportunity to show their quality on the stage and be judged solely on the basis of their quality, not skin color or gender.