Pearl Street Films, the production company co-founded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, will adopt inclusion riders for their projects going forward, following in the footsteps of Outlier Society, the production company started by Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan.
“Thank you for always supporting broader representation in the industry,” Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, head of strategic outreach at Pearl Street Films tweeted in response to Jordan on Monday night. “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.”
Jordan, Affleck, and Damon have adopted inclusion riders following Frances McDormand’s best actress acceptance speech at the Oscars on March 4, where the Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri star closed her remarks by mentioning the term. An inclusion rider is a way for actors and actresses to guarantee projects they work on have a level of diversity, onscreen and off-camera, that matches the location setting of the project. Stacy L. Smith, the director of USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative, first discussed the idea of an “equity rider” in a 2014 column for The Hollywood Reporter as a way to reverse Hollywood’s profound gender imbalance.
In a statement to Variety, Smith and Kalpana Kotagal, one of the lawyers working on the inclusion riders, said of the Pearl Street Films announcement, “It’s great to see Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and the Pearl Street Films team using their influence to create opportunities for people from underrepresented groups to enter the industry. The Inclusion Rider is an important tool for Hollywood, and other industries, to create workplaces that truly reflect our diverse world.”
Under their Pearl Street Films banner, Affleck and Damon have produced films such as Manchester By the Sea, Jason Bourne, and Live By Night, among other features and television series, and are currently working on Matt Reeves’ The Batman (with Affleck still set to star as the Caped Crusader) and Affleck’s remake of Witness for the Prosecution.