Celebrities, public figures and social media users have lashed out at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, owing to the complete absence of black actors and filmmakers among this year’s nominees.
Soon after the nominees were announced, director Spike Lee, actress Jada Pinkett Smith and actor Will Smith said that they would skip the February event. The Rev. Al Sharpton has urged others to boycott the red carpet gala. Still others—including Lupita Nyong’o, George Clooney and David Oyelowo—have pushed back against the protest.
On Monday night, Cheryl Boone Issacs, president of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said she is “heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion” among nominees and that it’s “time for big changes.”
The Academy tweeted the statement from Isaacs, which said, in part:
As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversity our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.
A statement from Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pic.twitter.com/Nqhgc7sbqG
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 19, 2016