Michael B. Jordan posted on Instagram last night that his film production company, Outlier Society Productions, will adopt inclusion riders for all their forthcoming projects. An inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contract where they can set out baseline diversity requirements for the cast and crew before the actor commits to a project. The concept was mentioned by Best Actress award-winner Frances McDormand during her acceptance speech and quickly went viral.
“I’ve been privileged to work with powerful [women] & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward,” Jordan wrote.
Jordan joins Brie Larson (Kong: Skull Island and The Glass Castle), who said in a tweet on Monday after the Oscars, “I’m committed to the Inclusion Rider. Who’s with me?”
I’m committed to the Inclusion Rider. Who’s with me? https://t.co/yvQ0wR5D80— Brie Larson (@brielarson) March 5, 2018
The idea of the inclusion rider was first suggested by Stacy L. Smith, associate professor of communication at the USC Annenberg school for Communication and Journalism, when she proposed the idea of an “equity rider” in an op-ed for the Hollywood Reporter in 2014. Smith suggested that A-list actors could add a diversity clause in their contracts to include women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.
She wrote, “If notable actors working across 25 top films in 2013 had made this change to their contracts, the proportion of balanced films (about half-female) would have jumped from 16 percent to 41 percent.”
At least one person has publicly declined to use the inclusion rider: Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings, who said to USA Today during a press meeting this week that “we’re not so big on doing everything through agreements ... we’re trying to do things creatively.”
Other celebrities, like musician and actor Janelle Monáe (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) and Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Westworld), have taken to social media to express their support, although they haven’t made an outright declaration like Larson and Jordan.
Monáe tweeted after the Oscars, “Still screaming ‘inclusion rider’ & congrats to our humble hero @JordanPeele.” And Thompson responded to Jordan’s announcement last night, “YES @michaelb4jordan. This is how change happens. When we commit to making it. #InclusionRider”
Others have followed the inclusion rider revelation by asking whether it can apply in other industries and contexts, like scientists demanding 50 percent women speakers at a conference, or to hiring practices at news organizations. Annenberg’s Twitter page, in particular, has raised the idea of using inclusion riders to bring more female directors to the Star Wars franchise.