Amazon Studios is making it official. The company has implemented a formal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) policy, including “a detailed ‘playbook’ with hiring and purchasing guidelines for the studio’s creative collaborators,” Variety reports. These policies, developed over two-plus years, were overseen by Latasha Gillespie, the head of DE&I at Amazon Studios.
As more and more activists and high-profile figures in Hollywood call for concrete commitments to DE&I, such as inclusion riders, Amazon Studios decided “it was important to pull it together to have one comprehensive policy to articulate how we think about this and what ‘good’ looks like,” Gillespie said. Amazon also consulted with business and vendor partners when drafting its DE&I policy.
According to the new playbook, Amazon Studios productions should “ideally include a minimum 30% women and 30% members of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group.” This target goal will increase to 50 percent in 2024. Among the other stipulations for “most productions” are casting actors whose identity (gender, gender identity, nationality, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability) aligns with their character — for example, a trans character should be played by a trans performer; including characters from each of the following groups (at least half of whom should be women): “LGBTQIA+, person with a disability, and three regionally underrepresented race/ethnic/cultural groups”; and seeking a minimum of three bids from vendors or suppliers, one of which must be from a woman-owned business and one from a minority-owned business.
“This is a moment for us to really apply systemic change,” Gillespie emphasized. “This was an opportunity for us to do a deep dive and look at the systemic changes we want to see. I’m super hopeful that as an industry we are all committed to that.”
Amazon Studios will require its creative partners to file reports as well, enabling the company to track its long-term DE&I progress.
“Inclusion for us is not a mandate that is imposed from above,” Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke explained. “It’s a shared mission to create goals and a forum to talk about them and structure.”
Albert Cheng, Amazon Studios chief operating officer and co-head of TV, added, “This is not a diversity initiative. These are policies that are ingrained in how we do business. This is our intentional effort to build equity and representation into every aspect of what we do.”