George Clooney weighs in on diversity, Sharpton urges Oscar 'tune out'

Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:54pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Director Spike Lee, leading the call for an Oscars boycott, called on Tuesday for affirmative action in Hollywood to address racial disparity while civil rights leader Al Sharpton urged Americans to "tune out" the Academy Awards ceremony next month.

George Clooney and British actor David Oyelowo joined those calling for changes in the movie industry and at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose members nominated no actors of color for the 2016 Oscars for a second straight year.

"If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated. I would also make the argument, I don't think it's a problem of who you're picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?", Clooney told Hollywood trade paper Variety.

A day after calling for an Oscars boycott, Lee, who has an honorary Oscar, said Hollywood had fallen behind music and sports in reflecting racial diversity.

Lee cited a National Football League rule that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior executive jobs.

"Why Can't Hollywood Do The Same?" the "Chi-Raq" director wrote on his Instagram page.

Sharpton said he planned to meet with other civil rights groups to launch a "serious campaign for people to tune out the Oscars."

Documentary-maker Moore said he would join the boycott, along with Jada Pinkett-Smith, the wife of snubbed "Concussion" star Will Smith. But as of Tuesday, no other major stars had said they would boycott the Feb. 28 ceremony.   Continued...

Director Spike Lee attends a mass at Saint Sabina Church in Chicago, Illinois, United States, November 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Jim Young