Warner Bros. announced Wednesday a new company-wide policy to increase diversity and inclusivity in front of and behind the camera, the Los Angeles Times reports. Warner Bros. is one of several WarnerMedia brands that are adopting the policy; WarnerMedia subsidiaries HBO and Turner will also be affected. Actor Michael B. Jordan partnered with WarnerMedia to establish the new initiative, which will apply to all WarnerMedia projects moving forward. Jordan’s forthcoming legal drama, “Just Mercy,” will be the first production to adopt the new policy.
“The WarnerMedia family has introduced an approach that accomplishes our shared objectives, and I applaud them for taking this enormous step forward,” Jordan said in a statement. “I’m proud that our film, ‘Just Mercy,’ will be the first to formally represent the future we have been working toward, together. This is a legacy-bearing moment.”
Originally coined by director of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Stacy Smith, many people had not heard the term “inclusion rider” until Frances McDormand’s impassioned speech at the Academy Awards earlier this year. Accepting the Best Actress statue for her work in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” McDormand urged the industry to make more official efforts at inclusion.
“Inclusivity has always been a no-brainer for me, especially as a black man in this business,” Jordan said. “[But] it wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire — inclusion rider — that I realized we could standardize this practice.
The policy aims to include greater numbers of women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities and other underrepresented groups. Though the company does not provide specifics, a statement from WarnerMedia promises to “engage with our writers, producers and directors to create a plan for implementing this commitment to diversity and inclusion on our projects, with the goal of providing opportunities for individuals from under-represented groups at all levels.” It will also issue an annual report on its progress.
“I’m proud that Warner Bros., and our sister companies HBO and Turner, are willing to state unequivocally that this is where we stand on diversity and inclusion,” said Warner Bros.’ chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara in a statement.