Amazon Studios Adopts New Inclusion Policy to Amplify Marginalized Voices

Amazon also released a playbook for collaborators with the aim of fostering underrepresented talent in hiring, development, and production.
Jennifer SalkeAmazon Prime Executive Session panel, TCA Summer Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jul 2019
Amazon Studios Head Jennifer Salke
Todd Williamson/JanuaryImages/Shutterstock

Amazon Studios today released a comprehensive Inclusion Policy that doubles down on its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity for its content and productions. The updates also include a playbook with guidelines for its collaborators, which aims to support the goal of creating “a home for talent of all backgrounds…to tell stories that represent the joy, depth, complexity, and drama that exists across our world.”

According to Amazon’s release, the guides “offer detailed and actionable recommendations as Amazon Studios continues to seek out stories and storytelling that amplify voices across race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability (including mental health), body size, gender, gender identity, and gender expression for the global Prime Video audience.”

“With the establishment of our Inclusion Policy and Inclusion Playbook, Amazon Studios has committed itself to being a thought and action leader in the transformation of our industry,” said Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke. “We know how much work there is to be done to improve representation both on camera and behind the scenes, and it starts at home, with us. With clear directives and a commitment to accountability, these guides provide a path toward a more equitable future, both on- and off-camera.”

The Inclusion Policy covers four primary areas: Development, hiring and production, reporting and documentation, and meeting goals. Specific goals include casting actors whose identities align with the characters they will play, hiring 30% women and 30% people of color on films and series with three or more above the line creators, including at least one speaking role for a character from stated underrepresented groups, pay equity across cast and crew, and getting bids from women-owned companies as vendors.

Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studios’ Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said: “We wanted to move beyond good intentions to creating mechanisms that hold us accountable to a high bar. This Inclusion Policy and Inclusion Playbook adds important, additional depth and guidance for our internal teams and external partners to ensure we continue to advance our shared mission of amplifying the best creatives and content around the world.”

The announcement arrives one day after a damning The New York Times front page exposé on Amazon’s inhumane labor practices throughout the pandemic. One of the many egregious revelations in that piece included the disproportionate number of promotion opportunities for workers of color, who make up a majority of the Amazon workforce while higher ups in the company tend to be majority white.

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