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Exclusive: Academy Member Marcus Hu Pens Open Letter Calling on Industry to Make Diversity Real

Exclusive: Academy Member Marcus Hu Pens Open Letter Calling on Industry to Make Diversity Real

Strand Releasing co-president Marcus Hu signed the letter to the Academy of Motion Picture And Sciences, the one that asked just what were the Oscars thinking with those puerile Asian jokes. AMPAS responded by apologizing, and appointing three new, non-white Academy members. It also appointed six other, current non-white members — including Hu — to oversight committees

Now, Hu has taken further action with an open letter addressing the underlying issue: Namely, that all the good intentions won’t work unless people in the entertainment industry are willing to change the way they do business.

Writes Hu, "Whether in distribution, publicity, acting, directing, casting, cinematography, costume design or producing, we need to individually reach out and create opportunities for those who never felt like a vocation in film was a possibility."

Read the full letter, below. 

READ MORE: Academy, Under Fire Over Diversity, Backtracks on Voting Eligibility

"In response to the use of stereotypes of Asians during the 88th Oscars, I joined Arthur Dong and others to express our disappointment and to ask for an accounting of how racist jokes are vetted for inclusion in the telecast. While AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson’s apology was swift, it should not obscure the underlying challenge that is the industry’s lack of diversity. 

The use of offensive skits that demean people of color during a telecast with international reach and in the context of the heightened sensitivity of #Oscarsowhite is symptomatic of not just the Academy but the industry that has failed to keep pace with the times.

Appointing people of color to the Board of Governors and other committees is a start. However, we must do more to inculcate diversity as a core value — not just in the Academy’s governance and membership, but also across the industry as a whole and within each of our companies and businesses. Whether in distribution, publicity, acting, directing, casting, cinematography, costume design or producing, we need to individually reach out and create opportunities for those who never felt like a vocation in film was a possibility. 

I’ve been an Academy member since 1996 but didn’t become an active member until Dawn came on board in 2011. We worked together at FILM INDEPENDENT and she specifically oversaw directives at the organization focused on diversity issues — one such program was Project Involve.  During Dawn and Cheryl’s time at the Academy, I’ve seen the changes within the committees and ranks prior to the #Oscarsowhite campaign, so I know the organization’s goals have consistently been focused on diversity within.

I hope the Academy can lead our industry by fostering a productive and sustained dialogue. I’m hopeful that AMPAS and our community have been enlightened by all of the controversy, and it isn’t just a news flash that becomes an overlooked side note when Academy season roars into action and campaigning eclipses everything. Let us not find ourselves next year forgetting what we are talking about now.

Marcus Hu
Co-President – Strand Releasing"

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