Oscars: Al Sharpton-Led Activist Group Planning Protest Sunday

There will be more than nominees outside the Oscars on Sunday as demands for greater diversity within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences take to the Hollywood streets. The Los Angeles chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is planning to protest the 87th Academy Awards with what they hope will be a big turnout in the heart of Hollywood over the hotly debated issue.

This latest call for greater diversity within the Academy comes just days after Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) publicly requested a meeting with AMPAS chief Cheryl Boone Isaacs on the matter and then mulled unlikely Congressional hearings on the matter.

“We want to catch the celebrities as they are walking on the red carpet,” LA NAA Political Director Najee Ali told me today about the protest, which is set to start at 2 PM PT. national-action-network-logo“We will be right outside the Oscar ceremony, as close as the police will allow us.” How close is unclear: With the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre near Hollywood & Highland, the LAPD said that Hollywood Boulevard will be closed from La Brea to the west and to Highland to the east. The perimeter could go one more block east to McCadden, law enforcement sources tell me. One thing is for sure: NAA founder and MSNBC host Sharpton will not be attending the planned protest – except in spirit. “He has given us his blessing,” Ali says.

Sharpton was in the news recently for calling out then-Sony Pictures boss Amy Pascal for her private emails with producer Scott Rudin that were made public during the Sony hack attack. The emails included racially insensitive remarks about what black movies President Barack Obama might like. Pascal and Rudin apologized for the exchange, and Sharpton and Pascal met to discuss them. A task force to look at diversity in Hollywood was formed, though the head of it resigned after Pascal’s exit.

As for Sunday’s goals, “It is pretty obvious that the Academy needs more diversity in its voting process,” Ali said, noting the LA chapter will formally announce the planned protest in a press conference today at noon PT. “Very simple facts are that 94% of Academy voters are white,” Ali added, noting concerns raised about the apparent lack of diversity among this year’s nominations and perceived snubs of some filmmakers and actors when this year’s nominees were named on January 15.

“While our coalition of civil rights leaders questioned the obvious omissions of director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo from the critically acclaimed civil rights drama Selma, our protest and concerns isn’t just about them,” Ali in an additional statement today. “The issue of the lack of racial diversity is the larger issue that Hollywood must face and confront head on. That’s why our protest of this year’s Oscar’s ceremony is designed to be a wake-up call for the entire industry.”

“The National Action Network is calling for the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to accelerate the Academy’s push to be more inclusive. With all of this year’s acting contenders being white and no women in the directing or writing categories. It’s obvious that the Academy has a diversity problem they are going to have to fix,” added the NAA’s Rev. K.W.Tulloss.

The Oscars are set to start at 5 PM PT with a live broadcast on ABC.

  1. I thought this was a talent competition. So what does this diversity movement want to accomplish, that talented caucasian actors are ignored in favor of diversity? Can someone enlighten me how that would be fair?

    1. Karynne — unfortunately, there is no explaining this stupidity. I’m pretty sure that any reasonable person will be disgusted by any display ‘entitlement’. Oh, I imagine this I going to backfire on Al Sharpton and his sheep.

      Al Sharpton needs to just stop. He’s an embarrassment to humanity.

      1. I soo agree. Kanye and Al should do a fashion week with all their “thug nation’ boyz. I bet they sell a million dollar of goods, see 10 million dollar of goods stolen.

    2. Just when I thought Americans couldn’t get any lower…

      When we elected President Obama, weren’t we promised “hope and change”? It seems like his years as president have only torn our nation apart.

      We now have race riots in our streets. I’ve never seen a country more divided. We all hate each other now.

      They say a good economy cures all. Many of our citizens have had their jobs taken away along with their health insurance. The middle class is shrinking and its not getting any better.

      Obama and Co have destroyed everything they’ve tried “to fix”. My health insurance is $450/month, my taxes are closing in on 50% (in NYC), and even my subway pass is now over $100/month (in NYC). Stuff that is still private enterprise is super cheap. Car insurance ($25/month from Insurance Panda), cell phone ($22/month from T Mobile), and gym ($15/month from Planet Fitness).

      These Oscar protesters have to have something better to do with their time.. right?!!

  2. Awards need to be color and gender blind – and I believe they are. It may be a difficult thing to hear, but SELMA was not a great movie and it does not “deserve” Oscar nominations just so we can be politically correct. Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo did a good job respectively, but the film was not a great vehicle for their talents and frankly held them back from creating “Oscar-worthy” work. People can blame the delay in screeners, but even after seeing the movie I wouldn’t have included it in my Oscar list even if I had received a screener. Everyone got UNBROKEN as a screener, but where’s the outcry at Angelina Jolie not being nominated as a woman? Mediocre film = no nomination.
    This protest is purely for the visibility and has nothing to do with the Oscars. If Sharpton wants to organize a protest in front of every studio for the next month to protest their lack of diversity, then I’ll be right there with him. Let the people who are being honored for their work enjoy their night and stop telling them they are not worthy because they are not the correct color or gender.

  3. This guy is as phony baloney as they come! who cares what Al Sharpton or his group believes or disbelieves! he’s got enough problems on his plate,without trying to compound anymore Bad PR!

  4. So of course, everyone will be so sick of this whole issue that minority candidates and talent will be pushed back years because of this. I really wonder if Al Sharpton is part of a psyops campaign to destroy the credibility of any legitimate concern about diversity. I know I really want nothing to do with Obama based on his relationship with this huckster – I’m old enough to remember Tawana Bradley. F*~€ off and go teach your ‘community’ how to tip in restaurants.

    1. Wow, how gross your response is. You went from a legitimate gripe about whether or not Sharpton should be protesting to claiming ALL black people can’t tip well at restaurants? You know you just diminished any credibility you have by a ridiculous statement like that right?

      1. You do understand Sharpton routinely (almost 80 times) visited the White House as an “advisor” to Obama. How uninformed your comment is. It is completely legitimate to look at a race hustler like Sharpton and be alarmed at the fact that he is advising Obama on anything. Now – there’s no reason to rip Obama directly but the fact he is receiving any instruction and/or guidance from Al is really f’ng scary.

  5. Probably writing the trip off as a business expense…oops…Sharpton doesn’t need deductions because he doesn’t pay taxes.

    Sharpton is the real life Day/Nightcrawler. He should win PWOY.

  6. If Al Sharpton and his ilk are so concerned over the African American presence in Hollywood, then why don’t they put their money behind funding programs to help foster African American filmmakers on the youth level and help them get through film school and into the workplace? Why aren’t there more Tyler Perrys or Spike Lees? Is there less interest in the art of filmmaking then lets say music in that community? Or are there many interested young people who need a helping hand getting developing their skills and their art?

  7. This is getting ridiculous…EVERY PERSON could find something to go protest about. As a film-maker or entertainer if you need awards to validate your art or make you feel good, then you are in it for the wrong reason. There are two reasons to be in entertainment, to create art true to yourself that others can hopefully identify with…and make money by being a smart business person. Go read the story of Edgar Allan Poe, or Galileo…or a hundred others who created for the right reasons. Seriously people, should every actor who hasn’t “made it” also protest because they weren’t given the part over other actors? Get over yourselves. Skin color isn’t the issue here, its laziness and trying to find a quicker, faster, less messy and competitive way to succeed.

    1. The Black Reel Awards (Spike Lee has had 24 nominations)
      The BET Honors
      Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics
      NAACP Theatre Awards
      NAACP Image Awards
      … and more.

  8. Well, good…. how about if we boycott the NBA, which happens to be 85% black? Sharpton can bitch about “racism” all he wants, but the Oscars are awarded by the industry itself, not by every Tom, Dick, and Barry out on the street. Let’s see, did Morgan Freeman have a vote? Yes. Did Samuel L. Jackson have a vote? Yes. Did Melvin van Peebles have a vote? Probably….. So, what does Sharpton want, an industry that is 50% black? The population percentage of black people in the U.S. is about 12%, not 50%. Go away, Sharpton, you’re irrelevant.

  9. Will somebody shut up Al Sharpton? He should be under the jail for not paying thousands in back taxes. Why is he allowed to do whatever and not pay his tax bill???

  10. I say Al Sharpton should have an Oscar. He acts like he cares and he does, but only about the money and media attention in it for him.

  11. This is not the People’s Choice Awards. And I’d guess that even if there was more diversity in the Academy that the results would be the same. These are “credible” industry people judging others in the industry. It might be nice to get the statue but the bottom line is everyone’s checkbook. it would be a really shallow victory to coerce and blackmail your way to any award.

  12. Race-baiting, tax-cheating Sharpton is a joke and AMPAS is about as liberal as Sharpton so I don’t know why he’s complaining, this is his identical ideology that they share but I guess that Hollywood now has to go by Sharpton’s rules like everybody else that he blackmails. The Oscars suck anyway

  13. why don’t Sharpton and all the other wealthy African Americans start producing and financing movies? That would be the best way to increase diversity. Something tells me, though, that Sharpton won’t actually put his money where his mouth is.

  14. So the legal Americans should mount a huge protest for greater white collar crime diversity at the same time to demand conviction on Al Sparksome’s failure to pay the $4.5 MILLION in unpaid taxes and bring balance to the crime scene!

  15. This is funny, does Al think he should have a vote on who wins Oscars, does he think it’s by skin color? When The Help won lots of blacks won and no one objected, they deserved to win. Who are the real racists in our country?

    1. And I don’t recall him mounting a protest when Barbra Streisand was “snubbed” in the directing category in favor of John Singleton’s “Boyz in the Hood.” But wait, that was a white, Jewish woman, so diversity meant nothing to him then.

  16. We need affirmative action in the Oscars. Black producers and black actors automatically get 20 extra votes in the nomination process.

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