Battered by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and boycotts, the Academy Awards’ top official says she’s “heartbroken and frustrated” and pledges to take swift action to improve diversity in the membership.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, issued a statement Monday night — on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — in response to the outcry over the all-white acting nominees for the second year in a row.
The statement read:
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.