After a flood of controversy over a lack of diversity in the organization handing out the Oscars, an entertainment industry publication will try to gather Hollywood heavies in one spot in an effort to find a solution.
Variety announced Monday that it will host a Nov. 1 conference focused on diversity — including gender, ethnicity, aging and sexuality — in Hollywood.
“There is no issue in Hollywood today more important and relevant than diversity and inclusion,” said Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, group publisher of Variety.
“It is Variety’s privilege and responsibility to lead an industry-wide dialogue and bring the decision-makers of our community together to promote solutions to counter the lack of minority talent in film and television,” she said. “This is an issue that transcends the entertainment business, and we are excited to play a role in the broader conversation.”
The organizers of Variety’s “Inclusion” conference at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills noted that a recently released report by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA found that minorities remain underrepresented in Hollywood on every front.
“Age discrimination is an incredibly important issue, not just to AARP’s 38 million members nationwide, but across all facets of society,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, whose group is co-sponsoring the conference.
“We hope the dialogue at the Variety conference will lead not only to greater awareness of the issue, but to more and better opportunities for talented actors, producers, directors and others in the creative community — whatever their age,” she said.
Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Studios, and musician Pharrell Williams will have “keynote conversations” with Variety editors at the confab.
A host of panels are planned on topics ranging from LBGTQ rights to advancing Latino entertainment to the cultural importance of creating programs designed to support underrepresented groups in Hollywood.
Additional information on the conference can be found at www.events.variety.com.
–City News Service