We work to consistently delight all segments of our audience. We aim to do this in two ways: First, by seeking out stories that amplify the voices of characters across race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability (including mental health), body size, gender, gender identity, and gender expression. Second, by bringing these often underrepresented or misrepresented characters to life in an inclusive production environment.
Amazon Studios’ Inclusion Policy covers four key areas
We discourage stories that solely depict harmful or negative stereotypes, slurs, and dehumanizing language related to identity as well as narratives that link identity factors to jobs, religious beliefs, social class, or behavior
We encourage pitches, scripts, and stories from storytellers of all backgrounds, including those from underrepresented communities. Consistent with our Content Guidelines, Amazon Originals should reflect the wide diversity of our customers and recognize the dignity of all people by avoiding demeaning stereotypes and harmful tropes. For this reason, characterizations based on race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, disability (including mental health), body size or image, age, gender, gender identity, and gender expression should be made with care, and in each case will be subject to an enhanced review.
Developing Stories and Characters
The story comes first. The Inclusion Policy recommends casting characters from all backgrounds, as long as it does not compromise the authenticity of the narrative. For example, when a movie or series focuses on a particular racial/ethnic group, or is set in a homogenous context or location, it will be exempted from the requirements to diversify casting.
Amazon Studios is committed to authentic portrayals. It is our intention, whenever possible, to cast actors in a role whose identity aligns with the identity of the character they will be playing (by gender, gender identity, nationality, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability) and in particular when the character is a member of an underrepresented group/identity.To reduce invisibility in entertainment, and where the story allows, we aim to include one character from each of the following categories for speaking roles of any size, and at minimum 50% of the total of these should be women: (1) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or gender non-conforming / non-binary; (2) person with a disability; and (3) three regionally underrepresented racial/ethnic/cultural groups (e.g. in the US, three of the following: Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Middle Eastern/North African, or Asian / Pacific Islander or Multi-Racial). A single character can fulfill one or more of these identities.
Most productions have a multitude of speaking roles, from leads to smaller roles. Where it doesn’t compromise the authenticity of the story, the minimum aspirational goals for casting across speaking roles are 30% white men, 30% white women and non-binary people, 20% men from underrepresented races and ethnicities, 20% women and non-binary people from underrepresented races and ethnicities. Where we can have more people from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, we will seek to do that. These goals apply to open casting roles as well as talent attached to the project at the time an agreement is signed with Amazon Studios. We also aspire to cast at least 10% of our roles with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or gender non-conforming / non-binary; and 10% with people who self-identify as a person with a disability. Amazon Studios is dedicated to making a good faith effort to inclusive casting and we encourage our partners to do the same.
We believe in pay equity. Our expectation is that cast members will be paid commensurate with their work experience, the scope of their role, and equitable to the compensation of their peers. We will not consider an individual applicant’s prior pay history in setting compensation. All auditions, sets, and casting calls should strongly encourage people from underrepresented communities to apply. Auditions and sets should be accessible to individuals with disabilities per federal, state and local requirements.
If any of these aspirational goals are not met, the external partner may be asked to submit a description of the steps that were taken to achieve these goals.
Creative teams are required to submit detailed plans for auditioning and casting to ensure that candidates from underrepresented communities are considered and hired. The plans must also outline strategies for how the production will cultivate an inclusive environment. The Inclusion Playbook has details to support building these plans.
Hiring and Production
Reporting and documentation provides Amazon Studios with an understanding of (1) plans outlining how the production intends to meet the expectations of the policy; (2) whether inclusion expectations were met on an Amazon Studios production; and (3) an explanation for any impediments that were encountered in an attempt to meet the aspirational goals. Amazon Studios creative teams will partner with productions to deliver the following reporting for each film or show:
Reporting & Documentation
Delivery of Plans
Prior to principal photography, Amazon Studios and partners will work together to deliver their plans for how they plan to achieve the Inclusion Policy.
Amazon Studios will provide a report template for each company to indicate whether the expectations were met. This report must be submitted within one month of completion of principal photography and will include:
i. Gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability data on production-specific, above-the-line talent (Directors, Writers, Producers, Creators, credited actors) as well as below-the-line positions (department heads and seconds.)
ii. A full description of the film and episodic content that’s been created (i.e., storyline), and percentage or number of characters identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender, including non-binary, and those with a disability.
iii. The number and list of diverse suppliers hired for the production (including women-owned and minority-owned businesses).
Inclusion and equity are accomplished by adopting reparative processes, employed with intention, to produce a meaningful and sustainable result. This often requires a willingness to work above-and-beyond baseline demographic totals and percentages, where feasible. Our demand for greater accountability, to hold ourselves to a higher standard of representation both on screen and behind the camera, is meant to be constructive rather than punitive. We want our content to reflect the diverse communities we serve around the world.
Commitment to Accountability
“With the establishment of our Inclusion Policy and Inclusion Playbook, Amazon Studios has committed itself to being a thought and action leader in the transformation of our industry. We know how much work there is to be done to improve representation both on camera and behind the scenes, and it starts at home, with us. With clear directives and a commitment to accountability, these guides provide a path toward a more equitable future, both on- and off-camera.”
Head, Amazon Studios, MGM