Rev. Jesse Jackson also wrote an op-ed about the need to diversify the people who greenlight movies

By Chancellor Agard
Updated February 01, 2016 02:05 PM
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George Clooney says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s recent rules changes provide a good start to address the diversity issue – but that more work needs to be done.

Speaking to ABC News, the 54-year-old actor commended the “smart” measures taken by the Oscars’ voting body to diversify its membership, calling the move “a very good idea.” However, he thinks the initiative shouldn’t stop there.

“The Academy isn’t the issue,” Clooney told ABC News. “The Academy is at the very tip of the spear at the very end. The real problems are the diversity from the beginning, the people who are greenlighting the films.”

Earlier this month, the Hail, Caesar! star expressed his disappointment with the Academy’s failure to nominate any actors of color. “We’re moving in the wrong direction,” he said in an interview with Variety.

Rev. Jesse Jackson echoed Clooney’s sentiments in an op-ed published Monday in USA Today.

“The lack of diversity starts long before the stars pose and parade on the red carpet come Oscar night,” Jackson wrote, citing a study that found that white males dominate top positions in the industry.

Will Smith – who, along with his wife, Jada Pinkett–Smith, planned on skipping this year’s Oscars ceremony following the uproar – also applauded the Academy for its swift action.

“I was very pleased at how quickly and aggressively the Academy responded,” the Fresh Prince alum told the BBC.

Clooney’s most recent comments arrive shortly after the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Awards, which saw many non-white actors take home some of the night’s top prizes. Idris Elba won two awards, for his performances in Beasts of No Nation and Luther. Bessie‘s Queen Latifah, Orange Is the New Black‘s Uzo Aduba, and How to Get Away with Murder‘s Viola Davis also received trophies Saturday night.