Sharpton and activists from several civil rights organizations are protesting the 88th annual Academy Awards at a busy intersection near the Dolby Theatre that many attendees are expected to pass on their way to the awards show.
Sharpton’s National Action Network called for a “Nationwide TV Tune-Out” ahead of Sunday’s awards, sharing a flyer on social media that encouraged followers to “take a unified stand for diversity, inclusion and justice” in Hollywood by not watching the telecast.
“Let’s send a strong message that diversity in the film industry must be more than a hollow promise,” the flyer said.
In addition to the Los Angeles demonstration, rallies are organized across the country in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Cleveland and Detroit.
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Ahead of the protest, Sharpton delivered a sermon Sunday morning at the First AME Church of Los Angeles.
“In 2016, a year when we saw movies like Idris Elba s Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton and Concussion, not one of these actors and actresses of color was nominated for their roles, Sharpton told the black congregation, per The Los Angeles Times. “There are no blacks who can greenlight a film. We can put a black family in the White House, but we can t put a black in the boardroom of power in Hollywood.”
Later, he held a news conference next-door to the former home of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar, in 1940 for her role in Gone with the Wind.
Holding up a white Oscar stauette, he reportedly said, “They ought to present them as they are. White Oscars.”