Oscar Voter to Academy President: 'Are You Saying I'm Racist?'

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 Oscar nominees more diverse?

The Hollywood Reporter has been posting open letters - both pro and con - from Academy members in response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the subsequent rule change which seems to discriminate against older - and presumably whiter and racist - Oscar voters. This letter is from Mark Reina, a member of the Academy's public relations branch who spent most of his career at Warner Bros.

Some of my colleagues in the Academy thought people might be interested in the points I raised in the email I sent to [Oscars President] Cheryl Boone Isaacs below. I have not received a response.

Dear Cheryl Boone Isaacs,

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?

Thank you in advance for your response.

Mark Reina

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