Movies are created to share stories, advocate for change and start a conversation about what life is like, can be like or should be like. While the Academy failed to celebrate the rich diversity our movies bring and honor those behind and on the screen, it is providing a forum to discuss diversity and inclusion. But frankly, we are beyond that discussion and Hollywood should be WAY beyond that. See Crisis PR lessons from the Oscars snubs and upcoming boycott, PRDaily.
The Academy’s response to their oversight and subsequent boycott is a text book response. They acknowledge the problem, show empathy and state what they are doing to address the problem. However, in today’s world, we are no longer using text books.
There are several sides to every issue. As consumers of information, we need to make sure we have a good understanding of the issue before passing judgement. However, for many people, their mind has been made up.
Boycotting the Academy Awards is a way for the actors to make a statement and social media provides them the forum to amplify their message. To help move the conversation forward the Academy and others should embrace the boycott. Let it happen - Embrace it.
To restore their reputation, the Academy needs to move from talk to action. To show they are serious about making a difference they need to devote the next several weeks to celebrate, honor and cherish diversity from all cultures, faiths and backgrounds, but in a productive way.
I can’t think of a better host to start this conversation and help us all move forward than with Chris Rock and Cheryl Boone Isaacs. They both need to be visible and responsive, including appearances on news programs and late night.
The fact is The Academy is making a difference and they posted to their history in Cheryl’s response. Now, that they have to recognized the gaps within their organization, they need to become engaged in bridging those gaps beyond Hollywood and New York.
The Academy should not only devote part of their show to honor diversity in the industry, they need to use the next few weeks building up to the awards show, to regain momentum, own up to their faults and work to make a positive impact in the industry.
They also need to find a way to include those attending the show to be a part of their effort, to show the country they are serious about honoring and cherishing diversity and find some way to leverage the audience in the theater in that effort and engage the audience watching at home on social media, and incorporate that into the show.
Finally, their work is just beginning and they need to find opportunities beyond the show in regaining our trust and finding ways to rebuild, not just at the movie, but at the movie theaters in neighborhoods across this country.
*I want to thank Becki Winchel for including me as a source in her article in the January 21, 2016 issue of PRDaily.