Kevin Tsujihara Warner Bros. chairman and chief executive used his Visionary Leadership award at the U.S.-China Entertainment Gala Dinner to make an impassioned statement in favor of diversity in the workplace.
He received the award Tuesday night in Los Angeles on the sidelines of the 2018 U.S.-China Entertainment Summit.
The first Asian-American to head a major Hollywood studio, he said that Warner Bros is “recognizing the importance, value and power of diversity in our content and our people.”
Citing the box office success of U.S.-Chinese co-production “The Meg” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” with its all Asian cast, he said: “diversity not only feels good, it is good for the bottom line.”
“To maintain our relevance and pour creative excellence we need to work with new voices to tell new stories, stories that reflect a global perspective, from the faces we see on screen to those writing the scripts and on set, or making the magic happen in the editing room,” Tsujihara said.
“Audiences are hungry for great stories. And it doesn’t matter if the characters are black or white, Asian or Latino, male or female, gay, straight or transgender,” he said.
“Last month along with Warnermedia, HBO and Turner, we became the first Hollywood studio to commit to a production diversity policy. This policy in part reads, ‘it is essential that our content and creative partners reflect the diversity of our society and the world around us’,” he said.
“We all must ensure that there is greater inclusion of women, people of color, LGBT+ community, those with disabilities and underrepresented groups both in front of and behind the camera. We know it is right and we know it works.”
“Every other global entertainment medium; professional sports, social media, music other genres transcend race. Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Awkwafina all have appeal beyond borders and beyond labels, but somehow in movies we haven’t been able to make that leap. We say that certain genres of film don’t travel well, or that international audiences aren’t open to diverse leads. It is incumbent on the entire entertainment industry to stop making excuses for self -fulfilling prophesies, and instead get creative about the way we market diverse content to global audiences… We share a common humanity, especially in these perilous times.”