At the Directors Guild of America Awards on Saturday (Jan. 25), Rhimes and “Scandal” executive producer Betsy Beers were given the Diversity Award and, in her acceptance speech, Rhimes made clear that she’s beyond ready for the day that such an award needn’t even exist.
“When I heard I was getting a Diversity Award, I was really, truly, profoundly honored. I began to get calls from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc., and I was asked to comment on the award. Asked how good I felt about the award. Asked if it made me feel like I was doing the right thing. Asked if it had been a struggle making diversity happen on my casts and crews.
“While I’m still really and truly profoundly honored to receive this award, but I was also a little p***ed off,” Rhimes says, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. “So was Betsy. So over many, many, many bottles of wine we discussed this.
“We’re a little p***ed off because there still needs to be an award,” she continues. “Like, there’s such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award.”
Rhimes went on, breaking down why she thinks there’s such a diversity issue in Hollywood. “It’s not because of a lack of talent. It’s because of a lack of access. People hire who they know. If it’s been a white boys’ club for 70 years, that’s a lot of white boys hiring one another,” she says. “And I don’t believe that that happens out of any specific racism or sexism or prejudice. People hire their friends. They hire who they know. It’s comfortable. You want to be successful, you don’t want to take any chances, you don’t want to rock the boat by hiring people of color because, well, look at us.
“Both Betsy and I like the world that we work in to look like the world that we live in. Different voices make for different visions,” Rhimes adds. “Different visions make for something original. Original is what the public is starving for.”
While she didn’t want to come across as ungrateful, Rhimes also didn’t want to steer away from her message, either. “Betsy and I are truly honored and humbled that the DGA would thank our efforts. And yes, we’re a tiny bit p***ed off that there needs to be an award,” she says. “We’re also proud that the DGA recognizes a problem and are trying to fix it. The DGA, by the way, is the only Guild giving out this type of award in an attempt to draw attention to the problem, which I think is kind of bada**.”
And, it should be noted, Rhimes’ message was received quite positively: She and Beers left the stage to a standing ovation.
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