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Sony Pictures unveils details of new racial equity and inclusion initiative

By James Comtois
Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s chairman and CEO has unveiled details of the studio’s new racial equity and inclusion program.

Citing an internal email that SPE chief Tony Vinciquerra sent to employees on Thursday, Deadline reports that the studio has launched “a multi-pronged racial equity and inclusion initiative, called Sony Pictures Action.”

Led by Chief Diversity Officer Paul Martin and EVP Global Policy, Government Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility Keith Weaver, the Sony Pictures Action initiative will provide financial support to organizations dedicated to racial justice and reform. It will also enhance and expand the studio’s existing internal diversity and inclusion programs. Stacy Green, SPE’s Chief People Officer, will provide oversight and guidance.

Through both direct donations and matching employee donations, SPE will be supporting such organizations as: Advancement Project, American Black Film Festival, Black Lives Matter, Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project (LMU Loyola Law School), Community Coalition, Equal Justice Initiative, Fair Count, Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, The Innocence Project, National Urban League, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Vera Institute of Justice.

Vinciquerra also noted that Sony Pictures Action plans to roll out several programs to expand and enhance its diversity and inclusion efforts over the next few weeks. Initial activities include speaker series and roundtable discussions involving leadership, partners, and talent; virtual town halls to engage about experiences and solutions to social issues impacting employees; expanding its work with the Neuroleadership Institute on unconscious bias training; and building out such SPE programs as the Diverse Directors Program to present writers and directors with additional opportunities to connect with creative executives, showrunners, and producers.

“SPE’s leadership recognizes the need for continued conversations and dialogue to help educate one another through mutual respect and we encourage you to participate in Sony Pictures Action activities where you can,” Vinciquerra reportedly wrote in his internal email to staff. “These are just the first steps to making a lasting impact, and we look forward to sharing more."

Sony is part of a growing number of entertainment and media companies to launch programs supporting social justice following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. Last week, Disney revealed that it had pledged $5 million to the NAACP and other non-profit organizations to combat racial bigotry and champion social justice. Comcast recently announced it was donating $100 million to organizations that combat systemic racism, sexism, and homophobia (SYFY WIRE is owned by Comcast). Game developers Electronic Arts and Square Enix have pledged $1 million and $250,000, respectively, to social justice groups such as Black Lives Matter.