Democratic Congressman Skewers Oscars for Lack of Diversity, CC’s Hollywood’s Most Powerful

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) is upset with Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs over the perceived lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees, and he is demanding an in-person meeting over the issue.

Cárdenas wrote Isaacs a scathing letter Tuesday to express his “shock at the lack of diversity” and stated his belief that the academy has “failed” America over the issue.

After the Academy announced this year’s nominees in January, the APMAS immediately came under fire after it was revealed that all 20 candidates for the best actor categories were white.

“While the issue of diversity in the entertainment industry is a much deeper problem, without an easy solution, it is unfortunate to see such a revered American institution fail to fully reflect our nation,” the congressman said in the letter, which was obtained by Deadline.

As a Latino and an engineer, I know what it’s like to be in a work environment full of people who don’t look like me. Throughout my career as a small business owner and as an elected official, I have surrounded myself with a diverse environment and promoted policies and hiring practices that are reflective of our community’s vast diversity.

I would like to meet with you to begin a dialogue on how to build a more diverse entertainment industry to better represent the diversity of our nation and the world.

Cárdenas also wrote he was interested in what actions being taken to “promote diversity” and add new voices to the “current media conversation.”

The Representative for California’s 29th District and the first Latino to represent the San Fernando Valley also included the names of major studio figures, including executives for Warner Bros’, Disney, Columbia, Fox, and Paramount in the letter.

Boone Isaacs, who is a black woman, responded last month to controversy surrounding the Academy’s failure to nominate any minorities in all four acting categories for this year’s 87th annual Academy Awards.

“In the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members,” she told the AP. “And, personally, I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories.”

To read Cárdenas’s full letter, click here.


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