Kirstie Alley delivered a fiery rebuke of efforts to boost diversity within the Oscars race, blasting a series of reforms as “dictatorial” and “anti-artist.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Oscars, on Tuesday announced new standards to improve the inclusion of underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, LGBTQ folks and disabled people. The standards will apply to films competing for Best Picture starting in 2024.
In order to be eligible, a film must meet at least two out of four standards involving representation on-screen, behind the scenes, among industry access opportunities via the film’s studio/distributor, and in publicity or distribution efforts.
The announcement has drawn a mixed response so far. Few people, however, were quite as incensed as Alley. One of Hollywood’s most outspoken conservatives, the actor slammed the standards as a “disgrace to artists everywhere” on Twitter.
“Can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his fucking paintings,” the star of “Cheers” and “Look Who’s Talking” wrote on Tuesday, according to Entertainment Tonight. “You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL.”
By Wednesday, Alley had deleted the tweet, claiming it was a “poor analogy” and “misrepresented my viewpoint.” She clarified her criticism of the new Best Picture standards, instead likening them to “MANDATED ARBITRARY percentages relating to hiring human beings in any business.”
Calling the quotas “impossible to police,” she added, “Diversity and inclusion should be taught, taught so well and so naturally and genuinely that it becomes second nature to our children.”
The comments received a brisk response from many of Alley’s industry peers, including director Ava DuVernay, who replied with a GIF of actor Denzel Washington shutting a door in a man’s face.
Alley is no stranger to stirring controversy on social media.
The actor applauded President Donald Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, thanking him on Twitter for “taking charge” and “leading in a manner needed & wanted for this country” amid the ongoing crisis.
And in 2016, she scoffed at Mattel after the toy company unveiled a series of new Barbie dolls with a variety of skin tones and body types, saying she wished it were 1965 again.
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