Al Sharpton calls Oscar ratings decline 'heartening' for diversity

Sharpton Leads Oscar Protest
Sharpton Leads Oscar Protest

The Rev. Al Sharpton took some credit for a decline in Oscar viewership, and said that it should "send a message to the Academy and to movie studio heads."

In a statement released by his National Action Network, Sharpton said that the decline is "heartening to those of us that campaigned around asking citizens to tune out."

"Though clearly we don't take full credit for the decline, certainly one would have to assume we were effective and part of the decline," he said. "And to those that mocked the idea of a tune out, it seems the joke was on them."

Related: Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs Addresses Diversity Controversy on Oscars Red Carpet

Sharpton led a protest in Hollywood on Sunday afternoon, saying that they were putting the Academy "on notice." If next year's list of nominees is not diverse, Sharpton vowed to escalate protests and to put pressure in advertisers.

"This is not about actors and actresses getting awards, this is about inclusion and the respect of ticket buyers and viewers who are ordinary struggling American citizens who have been marginalized," Sharpton said. "For those that live and work in Los Angeles in the movie industry and can't get jobs because people from their community can't get deals because there is no one there to greenlight their films and work, this ought to send a message to Hollywood that it is time for a change."

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Originally published