Jewish group attacks Film Academy’s diversity efforts | ET REALITY


More than 260 Jewish entertainment figures, including actors David Schwimmer, Julianna Margulies and Josh Gad, and producers Greg Berlanti and Marta Kauffman, signed an open letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday, criticizing the organization for excluding to the Jews. as an underrepresented group in their diversity efforts.

In 2020, the academy issued a set of standards as part of its diversity initiative that recognized a number of identities as “underrepresented,” including women, LGBTQ people, an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, or those with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Religion is not one of the categories considered.

These initiatives will become part of the standards required for a film to compete in the best film category starting this year. For a film to be eligible, at least one of the lead actors or a significant supporting actor must be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. The academy has said that includes Asian, Hispanic, Black, Indigenous, Native American, Middle Eastern, North African, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander actors.

“An inclusion effort that excludes Jews is steeped in and misconstrued by anti-Semitism,” said the letter, which was organized by the Hollywood Office of the Jewish in the City group. “It erases Jewish peoplehood and perpetuates myths of Jewish whiteness and power and that racism against Jews is not a major problem or is a thing of the past.”

The letter added that Judaism was not only a matter of faith, but also a matter of ethnicity.

This is not the first time in recent years that the academy has faced criticism from the Jewish community. When the organization opened its long-awaited museum in Los Angeles in 2021, there was little recognition of the contributions of Jewish immigrants like Jack Warner and Louis B. Mayer, who were largely responsible for the founding of the Hollywood studio system. In response, the academy said it would open a permanent exhibition dedicated to the birth of Hollywood and the Jewish filmmakers who established it. The exhibit, called “Hollywoodland: Jewish Founders and the Creation of a Film Capital,” will debut May 19.

According to Allison Josephs, founder and executive director of Jew in the City, the letter has been in the works since the summer, months before Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, while the academy’s new standards were being discussed.

“It seems like a very big mistake not to recognize that perhaps we are the most persecuted group of all time,” he said in an interview.

The academy declined to comment.

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