John Oliver, Amy Schumer, other comedians sign pledge to ‘commit to improving diversity’

Over 50 late night hosts, comedians, and writers pledged to improve “diversity, equity and inclusion” in a statement released on Tuesday.

Several famous names such as John Oliver, Amy Schumer, Trevor Noah, Amber Ruffin, Charlamagne tha God, Samantha Bee, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero appeared in a lengthy pledge from the Writers Guild of America East and West to push for more diversity behind the scenes of television shows.

“As hosts, showrunners, executive producers, and head writers of late-night and comedy-variety television, we commit to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry – not only as a matter of social justice, but with the understanding that the continued vitality and relevance of our work is dependent on hiring, empowering, retaining, developing, and promoting diverse talent, and on ensuring that our work onscreen and off reflects the racial diversity of our country and audience,” the statement read.

Several late-night hosts and comedians signed a pledge to promote more diversity.

Several late-night hosts and comedians signed a pledge to promote more diversity.
(Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images)

The statement emphasized that late-night writers’ rooms have been “historically overwhelmingly White” and suggested several actions to improve that status.

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“We will look for applicants in more diverse spaces than the traditional set of colleges, universities and comedy spaces, and we will expand our existing networks by seeking recommendations from a broader and more diverse group of writers, networks and lists,” the statement said .

“Our members are aware and committed to the ideas and the actions in this important pledge,” WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson said in another statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “The pledge is proof that people in positions of power, as well as those at the staff writer level, embrace the change needed to insure BIPOC voices are a vital part of the influential world of late night and comedy-variety television.”

Late-night comedy shows have floundered in ratings since Donald Trump left office.

Late-night comedy shows have floundered in ratings since Donald Trump left office.
(Comedy Central)

The pledge concluded, “These commitments are just a start to a long process. We must create an industry in which diversity is not an aspirational goal but is a fundamental trait. Our industry will not be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry until it is that by default – until the pipelines into the industry and the hiring processes, room cultures, and supervisory structures at shows together create an environment in which we do not hire diverse writers onto writing staffs, but rather hire writers onto diverse writing staffs.”

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The pledge was also endorsed by a list of WGAE and WGAW staff writers.

“As the writers of these series, we support the commitment signed by supervisory writers and firmly believe that it will benefit not only our workplaces but also the shows that we create together,” the endorsement read.

Samantha Bee poses backstage at the 72nd Writers Guild Awards at Edison Ballroom on February 01, 2020, in New York City.

Samantha Bee poses backstage at the 72nd Writers Guild Awards at Edison Ballroom on February 01, 2020, in New York City.
(Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Writers Guild of America, East)

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“Diversity, equity and inclusion” has featured as a main agenda item for several large corporations, as well as the Biden administration. According to critical race theory critic Christopher Rufo, Wal-Mart alone spent $100 million on a “Center for Racial Equity.”