Matt Damon was 'alarmed' by lack of diversity

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 24 March 2018
Matt Damon

Matt Damon

Matt Damon has admitted he and Ben Affleck decided to adopt inclusion riders for their production company, Pearl Street, after realising the "alarming and embarrassing" reality of diversity in Hollywood

Matt Damon decided to adopt inclusion riders after realising the "alarming and embarrassing" reality of diversity in Hollywood.

The 'Downsizing' star and his production partner, Ben Affleck, vowed to "do better" to ensure racial and gender equality on movies producer by their company Pearl Street after being shocked by the results of a survey commissioned on the subject.

Talking about the hiring of Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni as head of strategic outreach at Pearl Street, Matt told The Hollywood Reporter: "We hired Fanshen a few years ago with issues of inclusion because we needed to do better. And she brought us the Annenberg study that was done out of USC, which was just the data collection on the real numbers industry-wide. And they were horrible. It was alarming and embarrassing. So she kind of challenged us with that."

He and Ben asked what was "actionable" and how they could make changes, so were introduced to Stacy L. Smith, who had conducted the study and first proposed the idea of inclusion riders.

Matt, 47, recalled: "Dr. Smith started to talk to us and many, many others across the industry -- actors to directors to producers, lawyers, agents, studio heads and executives.

"Really, she was having a lot of these conversations concurrently and suggested an inclusion rider as a way to combat implicit bias. Because the implicit bias is just so strong and the numbers bore that out...

"Hopefully, if you can use it as a tool to combat implicit bias, when Dr. Smith does her study again, we'll see better inclusion in Hollywood. That's the hope.

"The rider itself is not the point. That's the means to the end. The point is inclusion and hopefully this is the tool that can get us there."

The subject of inclusion riders was brought to public consciousness in Frances McDormand's passionate Oscars speech, but Matt - who said they'll look at the subject on a "case by case" basis - insisted it was something they had been exploring for some time.

He said: "There have been a lot of back channel conversations that have been going on.

"I would say most of the people I know are activated around this and talking about this. There's no reason our industry shouldn't look like our country demographically."

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