News & Politics

Gay Latino Oscars Voter to Academy President: You Calling Me Racist?

In an email sent to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, full-voting member Mark Reina takes offense to the new diversity rules proposed after the #OscarsSoWhite social media brouhaha:

I understand your need to respond to the criticism the Academy has recently received about the lack of diversity among the Oscar nominees. However, I am baffled at your and the board’s choice of a response.

I worked in the industry for over 20 years, most of that time as a film studio executive. Because of that, I am currently a full voting member of the Academy. Under the new rules it appears as though that right will be denied me in order to make the Academy and therefore the Oscar nominees “more diverse.”

Are you saying I am racist or have racist tendencies and need to be excluded from voting? Are you saying if I worked another 10 years I would vote differently? Are you saying that I have not made my voting choices on quality but rather on the color of the artists’ skin? Are you saying that I have voted (consciously or unconsciously) to exclude women, members of the LGBT community and other minorities? I find it insulting and ignorant. I take my membership responsibilities seriously and am honored to be part of the Academy. I have paid my yearly dues, cast Oscar ballots each year, voted in categories only when I have seen all the films and consistently been involved in and voted on other AMPAS matters since I was invited to join in 1995.

I am a gay man and my father is a Latino immigrant. Please explain to me how denying me my right to vote makes the Academy membership and the Oscar nominees more diverse?

What’s happening here is that the Academy has arrived at the place all of the progressive labeling of subgroups has been inexorably pulling it and other leftist-dominated organizations for a long time. There is inherent virtue attributed to diversity, yet those who scream the loudest about it often have very different definitions and interpretations of the concept. Whether you do a casual or more involved review of the news since the nominations this year, it’s the word “diversity” that dominates, though.

One would think that a gay Latino would have enough diversity cred for any progressive conversation but it would appear there are a lot of subgroup babies that can be thrown out with the bath water in the scramble to appease Will Smith.

The AMPAS is attempting to guarantee the outcomes of a completely subjective process, which is lunacy. In its panic to please, it has opted for an overhaul of the group in that subjective process, which, in effect, tells them how to vote. If more women and minorities are involved and they aren’t voting for women and minorities in the nominating process, then all was for naught. Essentially, they are trying to rig the system.

Some would say it’s been rigged for the white members for a long time, which may or may not be true. That, however, is getting into “two wrongs don’t make a right” territory.

Which is where you lose the progressives.