After a selection of racist emails sent between Sony executives were leaked, people were outraged about the insensitivity shown to various Black icons including Kevin Hart and President Barack Obama. In response to the incident, Reverend Al Sharpton has teamed up with Vivica A. Fox and other Black leaders in the entertainment industry to develop the Hollywood Diversity Task Force, which will address racial bias in the movie industry.
Sharpton first met with Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal, who came under fire for her comments about the president’s taste in movies, in December and walked away with the power to give suggestions that will affect how movies are made as well as tackle Hollywood’s lack of diversity in order to set it on the right track towards acceptance, inclusion and respect.
Other members of the Hollywood Diversity Task Force include Ron Taylor, former Fox head of diversity; Tanya Kersey, founder and CEO of Hollywood Black Film Festival; environmental scientist/producer Dr. Woodrow Clark; producer/director Jean Claude LaMarre; Rev. K.W Tulloss of the National Action Network; Pastor William Smart Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and filmmaker Gary Hardwick.
The task force is preparing for a sit-down with Pascal later this month to present their recommendations and while their current focus is Sony, simply because of the hack that brought these emails to light, the independent task force plans to move on to other networks, organizations, studios and agencies to discuss how they can bring more diversity in front of the cameras and behind the scenes.
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