Matt Damon & Ben Affleck’s production company will do inclusion riders now

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Frances McDormand knew what she was doing when she said the words “inclusion rider” during her Oscar speech. Even though people were like “what in the world is that?” at the time, Frances explained it backstage, as she was doing press – an inclusion rider is something production companies and stars can demand contractually, that the productions will have inclusive hiring practices with a gender balance and racial diversity. Michael B. Jordan announced that his production company will be doing inclusion riders from here on out. And now Matt Damon and Ben Affleck want a piece of the inclusion rider pie too.

So it looks like Michael B. Jordan gets at least a little credit for all future projects made by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s production company Pearl Street Films. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, the Black Panther star is the proponent of inclusion riders that Pearl Street’s head of strategic outreach Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni retweeted on Twitter, when announcing that the company would be following in the footsteps of Jordan’s own production company Outlier Society.

“On behalf of Pearl Street Films, Matt Damon, @BenAffleck, Jennifer Todd, Drew Vinton & I will be adopting the #InclusionRider for all of our projects moving forward,” DiGiovanni tweeted on Monday night. Famously hyped by Frances McDormand during her acceptance speech at the Oscars this year, inclusion riders, an agreement put in place to maintain racial and gender diversity both in front of and behind the camera, can be practical tool to fight inequality in Hollywood. The director of USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative Stacy Smith reportedly coined the term “inclusion rider” back in 2014, so technically, she also gets a hats off for Damon and Affleck’s upcoming movies too.

[From Vulture]

I mean… at least they’re trying? If we’re setting the bar so low, I guess we can give them a cookie for saying that they’ll do inclusion riders on the films they produce. What about the films they star in? Who knows. If anything, I think Ben Affleck might have a cleaner diversity/inclusion record in general, because the list of Matt Damon’s f–kups include: mansplaining diversity to a female, African-American producer, mansplaining the whitewashing controversies of his own white-savior films, and mansplaining the #MeToo movement. Ben Affleck might have the same thoughts as his bro Matty D, but Affleck doesn’t have the same kind of history of saying that kind of dumb sh-t, even if he assaults women. Oh well – everyone has to start somewhere. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(Just as I finished writing all of that, I remembered that Affleck cast himself in a role of a real-life Hispanic man. Ugh.)

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47 Responses to “Matt Damon & Ben Affleck’s production company will do inclusion riders now”

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  1. Rachel in August says:

    Uh-huh, yep, whatever, boys.

  2. Marty says:

    Does this mean they’re going to finally apologize to Effie Brown, or nah?

    • Jayna says:

      He did publicly in his Matt Damon way. Probably not to her face. Too chicken or playing the victim, misunderstood.

      I really liked what Effie said about making sure to hire people of color behind the scenes to movies also.

      “Brown stressed that she doesn’t feel Damon is a malicious person. “I do feel that his view in his mind makes sense,” she said, with regards to his comments on diversity. “And I do feel it’s the view of quite of few people, because it made it on [to Project Greenlight].” To foster change in the industry, Brown said that as a producer she makes a pointed effort to hire people of color who are qualified. “People can make a black film or a Latino film, but if everybody behind the scenes is really white, it defeats the purpose,” she said

      • Frome says:

        Did anyone else watch that season of Project Greenlight and the resulting sh*t pile of a movie? Because the full story is truly damning for Damon and makes his “apology” bs.

        For those who didn’t see it:
        Damon told Effie that diversity is for the cameras and other jobs should go on “merit”. Effie tried to point out that a room of white men and 1 white woman will perceive merit very restrictively. Damon cut her off. Damon then disappeared to China to make the whitewashed movie about the Wall of China that flopped. Effie stayed to produce the movie.

        She proceeded to hire a crew filled with people of color anyway. From the AD to the set designers. She told the talking head cameras that this was intentional. She watched as the white director filled his cast with white people. She remarked that she would monitor to ensure that he keep it 100% white and not insert black people in servant roles. Of course he went out and cast a black extra to play a driver, Effie almost shut the set down because she is a bad ass queen.

        All through the white boys undermined her, literally going over her head on budget decisions she made. When the director got Ben and Matt to increase his budget she advised him to use it to lengthen the shoot, he ignored her. It came back to bite him. From the second episode, she flagged that the female characters were two dimensional. He ignored her.

        So they complete the movie but it’s the worst thing ever made. So bad that the President of HBO was so disgusted he personally came to direct the reshoots. His first complaint? The female characters have no motivation because they are 2 dimensional. His only praise? That Effie had foreseen that reshoots would be necessary and had saved money for that. Did Matt or Ben have a single word of praise for Effie as the only person who called it right at every turn? Nope.

        In fact Effie says that Matt didn’t look at her at the premiere and she heard that he was blaming her for the bad PR hit he took. This fake ass apology was never directed at her, he never so much as called her to ask how she was dealing with the vitriol from sensitive white boys from all over the country. That scene was literally the last time Matt Damon spoke to this woman.

        So this is the man who has suddenly discovered diversity riders. The guy who not only actively opposed them on screen but has never acknowledged that his white lens led him to pick the wrong director and undermine the woman of color who actually was right about everything.

      • i, pet goat 2 says:

        thanks for the context, FROM. He would have stayed cancelled either way for me

      • Elaine says:

        @ Frome, thank you so much for that summary! Couldn’t bear to watch it. Have lived it ;-) as have many women, I expect.

        Glad POC will benefit from this.

  3. Jayna says:

    Pearl Street Films is based at Warner Brothers. Ben and Matt founded it, but they hired Jennifer Todd as president. Chay Carter, a female, is also very involved. So I am encouraged by their announcement and hope to see more diversity in front of and behind the scenes as far as people of color and women. We’ll see.

    I hope more who are involved in creating projects step up. That’s where it starts more so than the handful of actors and actresses that have clout.

  4. kate says:

    Whatever, talk is cheap, I’ll believe it when I see it. Though, knowing Batfleck, he’ll probably cast WOC as his love interest as long as he wants to make out with their breasts.

  5. Iknowwhatboyslike says:

    It’s funny how both of them believed they were so liberal in their views. Yet before this, the idea of hiring more women and minorities never occurred to them.

  6. BearcatLawyer says:

    Still cancelled for me. Sorry not sorry.

  7. Girl_ninja says:

    Will it include promises that Ben won’t grope the women and Matt won’t be a mansplaining, misogynistic arshole?

  8. mannori says:

    this is pure BS minimum effort and maximum good PR return. Inclusion riders in their own company produced projects will mean really nothing in the bigger picture. They don’t have the balls and the real concern in changing the status quo by asking inclusion riders on the big studio projects they get paid 20 millions for (at least). that’s where the real change will begin.

  9. Krissy says:

    Good for them, I guess , they’re trying, that’s a start. The real life guy who Ben plays in Argo is white, Tony Mendez. He’s part Hispanic but didn’t grow up with that side of his family but even if he did, It wouldn’t make a difference he’s still white. There are plenty of white Hispanics. Ben Affleck’s an annoying idiot but him playing that role wasn’t offensive.

  10. jess1632 says:

    I remember a couple years ago when I thought they were both so charming and charismatic. Now I see pics of them and my stomach turns especially Matt.

  11. Renee says:

    It’s a “cover our asses” start but at least it’s a start. However, I won’t hold my breath for the next debacle from these two morons.

  12. psl says:

    Oh, eff these two.

    I used to think they were adorable – they are CREEPS.

  13. lucy2 says:

    I’ll be very surprised if either of them has actually changed. Is Ben going to stop groping women? Is Matt suddenly going to realize that diversity in the crew matters too?

    This seems more like posturing for good PR after months of negative stories.

  14. thaisajs says:

    I really want to ridicule them for this given all of the other bone-headed things they’ve done/said the last few years on diversity.

    But…I also think inclusion rides are a good thing, so even if they are doing it for PR purposes…they are doing it, which might lead others to do it. So, good for them.

  15. Jenfan says:

    Oh these guys. I also used to think they were cute. Now I’m like so over it. They are like everyone else – only care about bottom line. Are either of them even doing any movies this year?
    Ben is MIA except for a tweet with a pic that places him in Hawaii. All while his ex is in DC for STC. Does he ever take responsibility to be there for his children? Even if just to visit while their mom is away?

    • JoJo says:

      Well, he’s been spotted with Jen and the kids on numerous occasions over the past few weeks, including an apparent overnight to LegoLand on Sam’s bday. So, I’m not sure why it matters if he went to Hawaii.

      Beyond that, I don’t see a correlation between #timesup, which has everything to do with consent, and other behavior having nothing to do with consent – such as, in Affleck’s case, consensual infidelity or how often he sees his kids. Sure, you can disagree personally with the latter types of behavior, but I wouldn’t conflate it with #timesup. Otherwise, we can all start down the path of becoming morality police, which would include a very long list of men and women perceived to be behaving badly in all kinds of ways.

      • LearningtheSystem says:

        Insofar as rampant cheating in pretty much all relationships is absolute disrespect for the partner, I think it ties in at the fundamental level of respect for the gender, actually. If you don’t respect women, you treat them all badly, pretty much – IMO.

      • JoJo says:

        I agree that infidelity is wrong and, of course, disrespectful to the other party. But I’m not going down the path of conflating it with sexual harassment/assault and #timesup. You say infidelity is related to “the fundamental level of respect for the gender” as though it’s inextricably tied to men disrespecting women. Yet, a Kinsey study in 2016 found that women are now cheating at nearly the same rate as men. Does that mean all of these women who cheat don’t respect men in general? A**holes with poor decision-making yes, but somebody who cheats does not a sexual harasser make.

    • JoJo says:

      Oh, and as for what they have going on – see the Lainey (Sarah) blog today. Pearl Street currently has seventeen projects in development, so yeah, it appears they have a lot going on.

      But as she also says, it’s not clear whether the rider will apply to everything in their portfolio or just stuff from this point on.

      Either way, it’s a start. IMO, nearly everyone in Hollywood falls somewhere on the egomaniac/narcissist scale, so I don’t really care about the “why” as much as the fact that they’re doing it.

  16. Honey Bear says:

    Isn’t this, like, affirmative action for Hollywood? Meh.

  17. mela says:

    what ever plastic surgery ben did around his eyes REALLY changed his looks

  18. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    It’s only a very small gesture of a start, but it’s still a start. It will take 1,000 small gestures to approach some benchmark of personal change imo.

  19. Dissa says:

    Yet disability is totally left out again.

    The Theory of Everything
    Breathe
    The Shape of Water …

  20. serena says:

    Oh well, that’s the least they can do to save their reputation.

  21. Regina Falangie says:

    Too little, too late. Sorry bro.

  22. Carolnr says:

    If Frances McDormand had not mentioned inclusion rider in her Oscar speech & Michael Jordan had not stated that his production company would be doing inclusion riders, do you honestly think that Affleck & Damon would be implementing inclusion riders?
    I think a lot more production companies will follow.

  23. Shappalled says:

    These guys are so 90s. It’s time to let the next generation in.

  24. Wow says:

    So they’re damned if they do and damned if they dont.

  25. Dee says:

    Sorry, I can’t comprehend this story because that last pic of them. They both look like absolute washed up shit.