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Academy President to Old White Members: I’ve Asked ‘the Elephant in the Room to Leave’

At the annual Oscars nominee luncheon on Monday, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs highlighted the organization’s new rule changes as a positive step to combat the diversity controversy surrounding this year’s Academy Awards.

Speaking of the new rules aimed at purging the voting rights of older, white Academy members to increase diversity, Isaacs said that she had asked “the elephant in the room” to “leave.”

On Jan.14, the Academy announced that for a second straight year, all 20 nominations in the main acting categories went to white actors.

Following the renewal of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Academy’s Board of Governors later voted unanimously to approve a dramatic overhaul of its voting rules and organizational structure in an effort to increase diversity at the Oscars and the industry.

The changes will also remove voting privileges from older Academy members and aggressively recruit new voting members “who represent greater diversity.”

“There is an elephant in the room,” Isaacs said on Monday at the annual Oscars nominee luncheon in Los Angeles, according to industry publication Variety.

She add: “I’ve asked the elephant to leave.”

Also at Monday’s nominee luncheon, one of the upcoming show’s producers promises the 88th Academy Awards will still be rich with diversity.

Producer David Hill said the Feb. 28 ceremony “will be the most diverse ever.”

According to Variety, Hill and fellow Oscars producer Reginald Hudlin have been working for months to ensure the Oscars “will have true diversity and will represent what the world looks like.”

Comedian Chris Rock is hosting the ceremony, which will also feature presentations from black entertainers Quincy Jones, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kevin Hart.

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