Growing calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards over the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees are forcing stars to choose sides and threatening to throw the movie industry’s biggest night of the year into turmoil.
The backlash over the second straight year of all-white acting nominees is also putting heavy pressure on the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to diversify its overwhelmingly white male membership.
The furor grew on Tuesday when the Rev. Al Sharpton said he would lead a campaign encouraging people not to watch the Feb. 28 telecast. On Monday, Spike Lee, this year’s Oscar honoree for lifetime achievement, and Jada Pinkett Smith announced they will boycott the ceremony in protest.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who has led efforts to diversify the academy, responded late Monday evening with a forceful statement saying that those previous measures weren’t enough.
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