Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has weighed in on the swirling controversy over this year’s Academy Awards, saying at a press conference on Tuesday that he “agrees” with the criticism that the Oscars lack diversity.
Garcetti was holding a press conference to discuss film industry tax credits when he joined others, including filmmakers Spike Lee and Michael Moore and actors David Oyelowo, George Clooney and Jada Pinkett Smith, who have previously criticized Hollywood’s biggest night.
“I agree with the criticism,” Garcetti said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I think Los Angeles reflects the country and the way the world is today. Our diversity is our strength and our diversity is what makes the culture so interesting here.”
“We need to lift up and celebrate the actors, producers, directors and writers who reflect that same diversity,” he added.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has faced mounting criticism from celebrities and industry insiders after the organization behind the Oscars failed to nominate any people of color in top acting categories for a second consecutive year. While some have merely voiced their displeasure, Lee, Moore, Pinkett Smith and rapper Snoop Dogg have all vowed to boycott this year’s ceremony, while the Rev. Al Sharpton has called for a national “tune out” in protest.
Despite the increasing pressure on the Academy, Garcetti said he was “not as worried” about a potential boycott.
“I respect that and that they absolutely have the right to do that, but we will still celebrate film no matter what,” THR quotes Garcetti as saying at the press conference. “It is certainly a wake up call.”
Garcetti also defended Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who issued a lengthy statement Monday to say she was “heartbroken” and “frustrated” over the lack of diversity among the nominees.
“I was with Cheryl Boone Isaacs last night and I know she is pushing really hard as the first black woman at the head of the Academy,” Garcetti said. “I think over time the Academy has to keep up with the times, or else they are going to continue to have these problems.”
Fallout from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy continued Tuesday and Wednesday, with actors Lupita Nyong’o and Idris Elba both expressing concern over the lack of diversity in the film industry.
Garcetti was recently chased from a public meeting by protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, who have accused him of being insensitive to the issue of police brutality against black residents of Los Angeles.
The Academy Awards will be broadcast live on February 28.