Would ‘Inclusion Riders’ Work? That Depends, Attorneys Say
Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 6, 2018
Oscar-Winning Actresses’ Support Of ‘Inclusion Riders’ Prompts Discussion
An “inclusion rider” or “equity clause” is a contractual provision that actors or actresses with requisite bargaining leverage can demand to have placed in their contracts that mandate a certain level of diversity among a motion picture’s cast and crew. A-list actors and actresses, who enjoy particularly strong negotiation power, can use the inclusion rider to insist that certain speaking characters match the gender setting for the film as long as it is reasonable for the plot. Inclusion riders can and have been crafted to include requirements that hiring and casting is tracked and analyzed, and, if they do not meet clearly defined terms set forth in the contractual rider, studios are subject to financial penalties. At the forefront of such clauses was Kalpana Kotogal, a pioneer for diversity in the entertainment industry.
Glen A. Rothstein, an entertainment and sports attorney and Founder & CEO of Rothstein Law APC, said “the inclusion rider was comparable to the National Football League’s ‘Rooney Rule,’ which mandates that NFL teams must interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching openings or be subject to league enforced sanctions.” Kotogal acknowledged that the idea behind inclusion riders was at least partly inspired by the rule.
“The difference between the Rooney Rule and inclusion riders is that the proof will actually be in the pudding, in that it is nearly impossible to prove a sham interview occurred, while you can look at the big screen and actually see if the cast and crew reflect the diversity that the actor or actress contractually bargained for,” Rothstein said.