The MTV Entertainment Group is teaming up with social justice groups, from Color of Change to GLAAD, to launch a “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DE&I) orientation initiative that will construct new “baseline cultural norms” across Viacom CBS’ brands.
The employee-led initiative — which is being branded “Culture Code” — is in partnership with social justice groups such as The Museum of Tolerance, Anti-Defamation League, The Jed Foundation, MPAC, RAINN, RespectAbility and Storyline Partners, according to a report by Deadline.
As the entertainment industry continues to shift it’s programming to include more LGBTQ characters, MTV will work with social justice groups to “construct a communal set of values, understanding and baseline cultural norms to create a more inclusive and welcoming creative community.”
The initiative will also expand beyond employees to include Viacom CBS’ MTV Entertainment Group projects, production companies and talent. The MTV Entertainment Group plans to pilot internal training by the end of 2020.
“We live in an increasingly divisive world and yet as storytellers, we believe in the power of content to give the gift of empathy and understanding,” said Chris McCarthy, president of ViacomCBS MTV Entertainment Group.
“We’re developing our Culture Code to nurture our creative community and outline a communal set of values, respect and mutual understanding that centers around the celebration of inclusion and diversity in everything we do,” added McCarthy. “We are humbled to be doing it in partnership with an incredible set of organizations who have dedicated their own lives to changing the world for good.”
“So many of the most powerful early media images of LGBTQ people appeared on MTV and ViacomCBS’ brands,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD Media Awards’ chief communications officer and executive producer.
“With Culture Code, the MTV Entertainment Group is once again raising the bar for how the industry should work with and include our community,” added Ferraro. “The overdue conversations on diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality happening across the industry often leave out the key step of behind-the-scenes education.”
Social justice groups like GLAAD have spent years blasting the entertainment industry for not being inclusive enough.
In 2018, the LGBTQ advocacy group slapped Hollywood with a failing grade on its annual report card for the lack of roles for LGBTQ people and a scarcity of LGBTQ storylines in films from the prior year.