As the Oscars approach, the controversy over the lack of diversity in its nominees continues to loom larger and larger. Both Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith plan to boycott the awards show, while host Chris Rock has already started roasting the Academy on social media, which should pale in comparison to whatever he has in store come Oscar night. Perhaps realizing that the #Oscarssowhite fallout continues to swell, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs issued a lengthy statement on Monday, elaborating on the feelings of “disappointment” she expressed immediately after the Academy announced that for a second straight year, all of its acting nominees are white.
“I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” Isaacs wrote, before referencing the progress the Academy has made since she stepped into office, including the implementation of changes to diversify their membership. But according to her, that simply isn’t enough. “We need to do more, and better, and quickly.”
Read Cheryl Boone Isaac’s full statement below:
I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.
As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. but the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better, and more quickly.
This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ’60s and ’70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.