After the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced on Friday 22 January that they were planning to change membership policies, president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and CEO Dawn Hudson faced the press at the Producers Guild Awards.
The announcement to introduce new members and strip older members of membership came amid a backlash over the absence of actors or film-makers of colour in this years Oscar nominations, prompting some of the film community including Will Smith and his wife Jada, documentary maker Michael Moore and director Spike Lee to shun the ceremony on 28 February.
When asked whether the decision to change membership was a difficult one to make, Boone Isaacs said: Not difficult at all and then laughed. She added her reasons were primarily because weve been having these discussions for a while.
The Academy for the past three or four years – even before then – (we are) definitely more committed in the past three or four years to diversifying our membership, and including people, all sorts of people, young, international, African American, Latino, females, women all across the board. That has been a goal of ours for a while, so its not that its really new, but now we have come out and actually are speaking about it, she said.