Gayle King also told PEOPLE she does not support an Oscars boycott: "If I was nominated, I would be there"

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated January 26, 2016 11:30 AM
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brightcove.createExperiences(); As the controversy surrounding the Academy Awards continues to swirl, even more industry players are using their platforms to discuss the headline-making snub of non-white actors in this year’s Oscar nominations.

On Monday, Selma director Ava DuVernay told The New York Times that she thinks the problem is undercut by the word “diversity,” a term she calls “medicinal.”

“[Diversity] has no emotional resonance, and this is a really emotional issue,” she said. “It’s emotional for artists who are women and people of color to have less value placed on our worldview.”

She instead suggested the word “belonging,” explaining that, “there’s a belonging problem in Hollywood. Who dictates who belongs? The very body who dictates that looks all one way.”

Other women of color in the industry, including LaTanya Richardson Jackson, focused their perspectives on the call by some to boycott the Academy Awards.

While Jackson’s husband, Samuel L. Jackson, is among the actors snubbed, the actress told PEOPLE at the Arthur Miller Foundation’s One Night, 100 Years gala in New York City Monday that she thinks “we should not boycott” the Feb. 28 ceremony.

“I think everybody should vote their conscience – I think that during the year when there’s this peace time, that we should try to form a plan that you can put into action, so you’re working on something,” Jackson, who’s been married to The Hateful Eight star since 1980, explains. “I always tell my kids when I’m studying with them, I say, ‘You always have to make a plan during peacetime so when war comes you’re not acting so reactively,’ so that you have a valid platform to stand on.”

The onetime Tony nominee says that while she believes “everything that everyone has been saying is valid,” she ultimately doesn’t feel like boycotting the annual awards is “worth it.”

Jackson, who is in the Academy, also supports the organization’s efforts to diversify, which include new guidelines about membership and voting procedures. Among the changes is the stipulation that a new member only keeps their 10-year voting status if they’re active in the industry. If a member completes three non-consecutive 10-year terms, they’re then eligible for lifetime status.

“I’ve been thinking about that,” Jackson said of the new regulations, joking, “I said, ‘I’ll have to get a new job … in 10 years I’ll lose my status!’ ”

CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King shared similar sentiments, telling PEOPLE at a charity gala Monday that while she understands that the decision by stars like Will Smith to skip the Oscars is “personal,” she thinks “it’s important to show up.”

“I think everybody has to make their own decision about that,” she said at the National Cares Mentoring Movement for the Love of Our Children gala in New York City . “You know, the problem with the Oscars is bigger and the Oscars, it’s bigger than the nominations. It really is a systemic problem. And until something is done about that … I don’t know, if I was nominated, I would be there.”

While King contends there’s “a lot of work to do in Hollywood,” she still isn’t sure “boycotting is the right way to send the message.”

“I want them to know that we’re here, we care and that changes need to be made,” she said. “It’s very encouraging to see that already, that people are speaking up and realizing, people know that there’s a problem and I think most people want to fix it, so I remain very optimistic.”

VIDEO: Oscars Boycott Backlash

The Academy also issued some clarifications on the new rules on Monday, answering the most frequently asked questions surrounding the regulations on their website.

In particular, the organization noted that they’re “not excluding older members,” and that the rules regarding a member’s active status “are not about age.”

Members of each branch will judge a member’s involvement, but those decisions will not be based solely on screen credits as long as that person was employed somewhere in the film industry.

In addition, three women and people of color will be appointed as governors by president Cheryl Boone Isaacs next month.

Reporting by KRISTEN CAIRES and JODI GUGLIELMI