17 JUN 2021

AMAZON STUDIOS RELEASES NEW DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION GUIDELINES

The new comprehensive inclusion policies are intended to strengthen the company’s commitment to promote diverse content and offer an inclusive workplace.

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Amazon Studios has released a comprehensive Inclusion Policy that expands its commitment to create a diverse, inclusive and equal workplace and content that correlates with the principles. The company also drafted a playbook with guidelines for its collaborators in the creative community. “Amazon Studios has long prioritized telling innovative and inclusive stories from a diverse range of creative talent, delighting our global audiences,”  Latasha Gillespie, Executive Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Amazon Studios. “We wanted to move beyond good intentions to creating mechanisms that hold us accountable to a high bar.”

The Inclusion Policy covers four primary areas: Developing Stories and Characters, Hiring and Production, Reporting and Documentation, and Meeting Goals.  It offers detailed guidelines that will help Amazon's creative teams to better showcase race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability (including mental health), body size, gender, gender identity, and gender expression for the global Prime Video audience.  “This Inclusion Policy and Inclusion Playbook adds important, additional depth and guidance for our internal teams and external partners to ensure we continue to advance our shared mission of amplifying the best creatives and content around the world,” said Gillespie.

The policy includes specific goals for Amazon Studios productions, including a team requirement of three or more people in leading roles, such as director, producer, etc., to form part of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group. The company hopes to increase the ratio from 30% to 50% by 20204. Casting actors whose identity aligns with a character will be selected. Aiming to include one character from each of the following categories in speaking roles, with a minimum of 50% of these to be women: LGBTQIA+, a person with a disability. A single character can fulfill one or more of these identities. 

The new policies were drafted with the help of Dr. Stacy Smith and Dr. Katherine Pieper of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, as well as Brenda Robinson of the International Documentary Association and Gamechanger Films on the creation of the Policy and Playbook. The studio also consulted with leading organizations devoted to advancing the visibility and responsible depictions of underrepresented or marginalized people, including GLAAD, Illuminative, Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

The company will also be on the lookout for a minimum of three bids from vendors or suppliers on productions, one of which must be from a woman-owned business and one from a minority-owned business. Pay equity across casting, behind the camera staff and crew, and for vendors and suppliers. "I am so proud to be a part of a creative community at Amazon that understands the importance of what I’ve been doing my whole career,” Gloria Calderón Kellett, creator and executive producer of the upcoming Amazon Original series “With Love," said. “Inclusive hiring is what makes the change. Opportunity and an eye towards changing things through action are what make the change."

The company has also committed to providing a report template to note the expections set for each production, due one month after filming completion.“Amazon Studios has created a comprehensive new blueprint that will change Hollywood by elevating those who have historically lacked access,” Smith said. “I’m immensely proud of this new policy and I know it will be a gamechanger throughout an industry often resistant to real change.”

Amazon Studios has long prioritized telling innovative and inclusive stories from a diverse range of creative talent, delighting our global audiences. We wanted to move beyond good intentions to creating mechanisms that hold us accountable to a high bar.” Latasha Gillespie Executive Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Amazon Studios