Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Production Company Will Now Adopt Inclusion Riders on All Projects

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attend the premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Live By Night" at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 9, 2017 in Hollywood, California. Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Taking a step forward. The production company cofounded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Pearl Street Films, will now adopt inclusion riders, according to the company’s head of strategic outreach.

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Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni made the announcement on Monday, March 12, via Twitter in response to Michael B. Jordan, whose production company, Outlier Society, has also made the decision to do the same.

“@michaelb4jordan Thank you for always supporting broader representation in the industry,” she wrote. “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.”

One of the lawyers behind the inclusion rider concept, Kalpana Kotagal, and Stacy Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, issued a statement to Variety following DiGiovanni’s 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,” they said. “The Inclusion Rider is an important tool for Hollywood, and other industries, to create workplaces that truly reflect our diverse world.”

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The movement comes just one week after Frances McDormand took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her leading role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, on Sunday, March 4, and brought the concept to light. McDormand ended her powerful speech, “I have two words to leave you with tonight, ladies and gentleman: inclusion rider,” and took the opportunity to explain what it means during an interview in the backstage press room.

“I just found out about this last week. There has always been available, to everybody that does a negotiation on a film, an inclusion rider, which means that you can ask for and or demand at least 50 percent diversity in not only the casting but also the crew,” the 60-year-old actress said at the time.

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She continued: “And so the fact that I just learned that after 35 years of being in the film business . . . we’re not going back. So the whole idea of women trending? No. No trending. African Americans trending? No, no trending. It changes now. And I think the inclusion rider will have something to do with that.”

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