Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs issued a statement late Monday evening, responding to this year’s second consecutive stable of very white Oscar nominees. Isaacs, who was present at last week’s nomination announcement, admits she’s heartbroken about the slow pace of progress exhibited by the Academy’s voting contingent. “We have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years,” she writes. “We need to do more, and better and quickly.” Her words come amid growing #OscarsSoWhite fallout, which has recently elicited jabs from the likes of host Chris Rock, as well as plans to boycott the ceremony entirely from Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee.
Read Isaacs’s response in full, below:
I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.
As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. but the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.
This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ‘60s and ‘70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.
The Oscars ceremony is currently slated for February 28.