Inclusion Rider

Studio policy


Table of Contents


What are the Inclusion Rider (IR) and the Inclusion Rider (IR) Policy, in a nutshell?

The Inclusion Rider (IR) is an addendum added to a contract that says you, as an employer, will commit to a plan to expand and diversify candidate hiring pools, seek out opportunities to hire qualified people who have been traditionally underrepresented, collect data to track your progress, and hold yourself accountable for making progress. 

Your company can use the IR for individual projects, a slate of projects, or as part of a company-wide policy.

It’s important to note that the IR is a flexible template that can and should be tailored to fit particular settings, productions and companies (see below for elements that must remain in place for successful adoption of the IR).

Whether for an individual project, a slate of projects and/or a company-wide policy, we are confident the IR is one of many important resources you can use to contribute to system-wide reflection and progress on the entertainment industry’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA).

Why should we adopt the IR and IR Policy? 

Originally the IR was meant for use by individuals with substantial bargaining power (like A-listers) to take into their negotiations with studios and production companies. It remains a useful tool for an individual both to reflect their own commitment to the principles in the IR, and to encourage their employers to do the same (see our IR for INDIVIDUALS). 

But our experience over the last several years has also underscored the power of the IR as a company-wide policy. What if you, as a studio or production company, took on the IR as policy? What if you made a strong statement to the agencies, partners, stakeholders and whomever else you work with that DEIA are among your highest priorities in your hiring practices? In making the IR a standard policy, you can contribute to system-wide change. This can ultimately lead to greater workplace equity and more inclusive storytelling and, as evidence shows, a more inclusive, diverse and equitable society.

If you are also looking for financial reasons to adopt the IR (and we understand that this is important), there are many studies showing how much money the industry loses by not having broad representation in its content. One strong example is the recently released McKinsey report. The IR fulfills both #1 and #2 of Black Light’s solutions for improvement.

What are the elements of the IR that are essential for its success?

Although the IR is a flexible template, there are four elements that are essential for successful implementation: 

  1. A commitment to deepening and diversifying hiring pools
  2. Establishing benchmarks and targets for hiring, and striving for progress toward achieving them
  3. Collecting, measuring and analyzing application and hiring data
  4. Implementing accountability measures to continue to support progress 



When should the IR be adopted?

If you are using the IR for an individual project, ideally, as early as possible—in some cases it has been used in the development stage! The sooner your team shares the IR template with everyone involved in hiring, the more quickly it can be utilized at every step of that process. 

The IR can also be used retroactively on a production, a slate of productions or to examine your company’s hiring practices more generally. This is when the accountability measures are most important as they encourage reflection on your past practices in order to seek to evolve and improve. 

Whether you are negotiating a specific project, reflecting on a slate of projects, or examining the hiring practices at your entire company, the processes outlined in the IR can be utilized at any point as a reflection of your company’s commitment to DEIA.


Who at a studio/production company should be in charge of adopting and implementing the IR?

Executives and creative leadership should work with Human Resources and DEIA personnel in consultation with counsel and outside academics or experts to tailor, adopt, and implement the IR. If your company does not have Human Resources and/or DEIA specialists, we encourage your production executives’ oversight. Please also see our IR hiring resources link if you are looking for experts to hire for a curated list.


How does the IR offer flexibility and protect the integrity of a story?

As a template, the IR provides many channels for flexibility to ensure its workability. One of these is by ensuring story integrity in casting.

For example, if you are producing a film that tells the true story of a group of people who are Latino/a/x, the production would not necessarily have to cast members outside of this identity group. 

However, we ask that you consider: 

1) historically white, white-passing, and/or light-skinned people have been cast to play a number of different ethnicities—and for over 200 years there has been little to no consideration of this. In meeting DEIA goals on hiring, we encourage those in casting to strongly consider this history and make prudent choices towards broader representation 

2) we now have very successful examples of casting historical figures as non-white ethnicities—like Hamilton and Bridgerton. Audiences adore these stories because of the stories themselves, not because of how the people in them look (or it’s BECAUSE these casts are more representative that we love them so much)

Finally, story integrity should in no way limit your consideration in crew hiring and hiring more generally at your company.

What if our project/slate of projects are being produced in another country?

We encourage your company to leverage this opportunity to partner with local organizations that focus on increasing representation on and off screen. As an example, when Endeavor Content Studios began a production in Toronto, it partnered with the City of Toronto and inquired about existing programs that supported the principles of the IR. Not only did they gain access to diverse hiring databases, but they also received support from local organizations that were able to assist with the hiring and training of production personnel.

Also remember that the IR is a template. Each project or slate of projects will have different limitations and considerations, those considerations are reflected in the language of the IR. In working with your HR, legal team, counsel in other countries (with expertise specifically in employment law), and with the data collection and analysis expert, together you will determine what is most appropriate for each project while maintaining the four essential elements of the IR. (see: What are the elements of the IR that are essential for its success?)


How can our department heads find qualified candidates for crew hiring?

Please see our link to databases to assist you in finding crew to hire. We especially encourage you to expand the scope of who has been traditionally hired by considering crew positions outside of film and TV, but that have crossover without a great deal of added training, such as people who work in theater and other live events (included in our list of databases).

What if our department heads can’t find a qualified candidate to hire?

The IR includes a link to databases to assist you in finding people to hire. Although interviewing and hiring for some crew positions may be more challenging than others, this should not discourage you from considering as many qualified people as you can from these lists (please note we don’t specifically endorse any one of the lists or any individuals on them and encourage you – as always – to do due diligence in vetting those on the lists). 

Ultimately, though, remember that the IR is a template and in its original form does not address every aspect of the special circumstances that make up your production/productions/company. However, utilizing the IR as a starting point ensures that everyone in a hiring position acknowledges and commits to making progress toward your hiring targets and accountability measurements. From there we welcome you to mold and shape the IR as needed.

We also welcome you to let us know if you’ve got databases to add to our link where you have found successful candidates to consider and hire.

We have already hired our key roles on an individual project both for cast and crew; can we still implement the IR?

Definitely. The IR can still be adopted for any remaining crew still to be hired like post-production services or PR and marketing). It can also be adopted retroactively for you to evaluate and reflect on how you did on the project, and to commit to making a meaningful donation to an organization that supports underrepresented storytellers (as an example of how your donation can be used).


Can you tell us more about the accountability measures in the IR?

Yes. We are confident that in almost all settings, your company’s efforts will result in satisfying the terms of the IR. We also believe that in order for real, positive and lasting change to happen, it is imperative that you reflect on your past practices in order to seek to improve in the future. The IR encourages accountability through data collection and analysis, reporting, and a good faith donation where you may fall short of your goals.

Why is data collection important?

As organizations, we manage what we measure. So we must measure where we are in order to manage the issue of the lack of representation in the industry. We must take an honest look at where we are to make progress. This is a substantial undertaking, so we encourage you to make use of the list of experts and consultants in the Inclusion Rider Resources. 


Who does the data collection and analysis and to whom do we report?

In committing to the IR, you agree to work with an expert to whom you will report the demographic data (as outlined in the IR), and who will collect and analyze the data. We encourage you to make use of the list of experts and consultants in our hiring resources  if you do not already work with one. If you have the capacity to collect data internally, you can certainly do that.

And Color Of Change (COC) can serve as a partner in suggesting best practices and acting as an accountability partner. Contact COC to discuss signing onto the #ChangeHollywood Roadmap to continue this process at 

Who has access to the collected data?

The data will remain confidential and anonymous and will be kept separate from any job applications. This may then be further utilized (in its anonymous form) by the expert in research projects that examine diversity and inclusion in film and TV and/or to advocate for greater inclusion in the entertainment industry (in compliance with local, state and federal law).

Is it OK to ask applicants to self-identify in order to collect the data?

Definitely. Having this data is important in order to help diversify hiring pools and to measure hiring practices. This is standard and accepted practice across the country and on a federal level. Counsel can work with you to develop a protocol to ensure that the information is collected and used in a permissible manner and that the applicant is providing demographic data on a voluntary basis and separate from actual interviews.

The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs and their implementing regulations offer valuable resources on requesting voluntary self-identification at the application stage.  For example, see 41 C.F.R. §60-741-42 (“Invitation to self identify”) as well as OFCCP’s form for voluntary self-identification re disability.

Also please note that many companies are already collecting this information. For example, companies that are federal contractors are required to collect information regarding race, gender, ethnicity, and disability, pursuant to those obligations and their affirmative action plans. Other major companies are obligated to report data regarding pay equity to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission through its EEO-1 program or through a similar program for the State of California.  


How is the amount of the donation determined, who pays the donation and who receives the donation?

In order for system-wide change to happen, it is important that we all reflect on the ways our past practices have contributed to the inequities in the entertainment industry, and take active steps towards changing the status quo. This is why we have included a meaningful donation within the accountability measures in the IR.

Given that the IR is a flexible template, determining the amount of and who shares in contributing to the donation are up to each individual, individual project and company to state clearly upon negotiation and adoption of the IR. 

We recommend a commitment to a meaningful donation by the production company or studio involved in a project or slate of projects… You may also consider asking any individual or producer, writers, directors or actors that have the right to designate personnel or meaningfully control hiring to also contribute. You may choose to negotiate a sliding scale depending on the overall budget of the project and/or based on the guaranteed salary for above-the-line talent and crew. You may choose to connect the donation commitment only to roles for which there are currently robust hiring lists. You may also take into consideration those in key roles who have been traditionally underrepresented vs. those who have benefited monetarily and otherwise from systemic racism, sexism, colorism, sizeism, ageism and other forms of oppression. Perhaps your company has its own fund for deepening talent pools, for example for interns or executive assistants—you may choose to contribute the funds there. These are all important considerations, and as long as there is a written commitment to a meaningful donation, how you arrive at the details is flexible.


We are uncomfortable with a punitive policy in the accountability measures. Can’t there be rewards for companies who get it right, rather than punishing those who don’t?

Our accountability measures are a win-win for everyone. Not only does your company have the opportunity to reflect on how you’re doing year over year or on individual projects, where you fall short you have the opportunity to contribute towards increasing the diversity of the hiring pools. There are initiatives that offer seals and other rewards, like Women of Color Unite’s seal, and we think these are important. We encourage you to see this as a both an opportunity in which you acknowledge and celebrate the ways your company is improving, as well as commit to strengthening the DEIA of the industry overall by supporting programs and organizations that are dedicated to increasing diverse hiring pools.

Does the IR use quotas?

No – the IR is explicit in setting forth a target for hiring, which could focus on progress over time, which is not the same as a quota. It also makes explicit that those making hiring determinations use their best efforts to hire qualified candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Please consult with counsel on following the best practices under employment law, subject to both federal and state regulations. 

Here are two helpful resources from the ACLU on inclusive targets and the IR:  

Hollywood Resolve to Make 2019 the Year of Inclusive Hiring Targets

Inclusion Targets, What’s Legal?

Here are two other helpful resources from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): 

Best Practices of Private Sector Employers

CM-607 Affirmative Action

What if we already have DEIA programs in place?

Implementing the IR is an added resource for encouraging mindful hiring at all levels of your company. The IR’s commitment to a fair process, data collection, transparent reporting and accountability make it an important and unique tool to advance measurable change. 

What are some of the elements of DEIA that the IR doesn’t address?

The IR is specifically a tool for hiring. It does not focus on or help resolve people’s experiences once they are hired, nor on retention nor on promotions. The IR also does not directly influence the script for a project. It does not include recommendations for filming locations. It does not prescribe specific actions for all the various situations in which you will find yourselves as a company and/or on productions.The IR is one of many tools we strongly recommend you consider using in your DEIA efforts. 

Where can we get more information on land acknowledgements?

Please see this link prepared by IllumiNative.

What do you mean by ‘intersectional discriminaton?’

Intersectionality is a term and concept coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw. It refers to the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups (Merriam-Webster).

In the IR we seek to encompass the many ways in which people are marginalized and underrepresented and encourage hiring benchmarks for these groups; however, we do not name all of these identity groups within the language of the IR templates and implementation guide. This is in part why it’s important to keep in mind that the IR is flexible. 

Especially once you are in the stage of examining your data, we recommend you do so with an intersectional lens. For example, if your company’s productions focus mainly on Black and/or African American characters, do you also include characters who are transgender? Over 40? Are you considering the damaging effects of colorism when making choices in casting and seeking to reverse the overrepresentation of light-skinned Black, bi-racial, and multiracial actors and crew members by including a full range of qualified medium and light brown-skinned to very dark brown- skinned cast and crew members? What about sizeism? If you are making efforts to include more people with disabilities, are you considering the differences between people with visible disabilities and those without? Historically the deaf and hard of hearing community do not identify as having a disability; are you consulting with people in these communities in order to broaden the representation in your company and/or productions?

Just as we have done and continue to do in developing these resources, please consult directly with members of the communities that have been underrepresented. Our hiring resource includes links to organizations who can share more.

What is the difference between the IR and The Rooney Rule?

The Rooney Rule (aka Winzer Rule in fantasy sports) is a pioneering strategy developed for the National Football League by civil rights and employment attorney Cyrus Mehri. It calls for consideration of diverse candidates for head coaching positions and has been expanded by the NFL to include general manager and other similar front office positions. Unlike the Rooney Rule, the IR is a contractual obligation that states production companies and studios will make best effort to deepen and diversify the hiring pool, establish benchmarks and targets, collect, measure, and analyze cast/crew hiring data, and implement accountability measures if they fall short of their goals.The IR Policy and the Inclusion Rider Policy Implementation Guide & Resources are based on those four leading principles.

Do you have recommendations for DEIA, anti-racism, social-impact specialists?

Yes! Please see our database link for resources. While we don’t vet the resources on the link, we are confident that through your own efforts in considering those listed here, you will find qualified entities who can provide you and your company with appropriate training.

Can the IR be used in all industries?

Yes. The IR has already been used for the tech industry, sports, fashion, music, the legal profession, publishing, and more.

Who has signed on to use the IR and who has already used it successfully?

Given that the IR is often part of contract negotiations, it includes confidential information and can be challenging to share who has utilized it as part of their contracts or policies. However, there are many public stories of individuals and companies who are adopting the IR, and it is being used beyond Hollywood. Often the IR is used in conjunction with other initiatives, such as the IR being a requirement for projects that receive the Women of Color Unite seal.

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