Flop of the Month: The Oscars fail again on nominee diversity

PRWeek UK's Flop of the Month for January 2016 goes to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for another failure to recognise actors from ethnic minorities - plus three more dishonourable mentions for PR failures.

The 88th annual Academy Awards has been embroiled in controversy after its members failed to nominate any ethnic minorities in key categories for the second year in a row.

Actors including Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Michael B Jordan (Creed) and Will Smith (Concussion) were amongst those overlooked for nominations by Academy members.

After acclaimed director Spike Lee announced he was boycotting the awards, the #Oscarssowhite hashtag began trending on Twitter. He was subsequently joined by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith. Other A-listers including Don Cheadle, Danny DeVito and Reese Witherspoon have also spoken out at the lack of diversity.

I really appreciated this article in TIME on the lack of racial and gender diversity in this year's Oscar...

Posted by Reese Witherspoon on Thursday, 21 January 2016

Further embarrassment for The Academy has come due to the fact its president Cheryl Boone Isaacs is an African American. In a statement, Isaacs said she was "heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion".

"This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond," she said.

Ahead of the awards ceremony the Academy has embarked on a damage limitation exercise revealing that it will double the number of women and minority members by 2020. But it has already been upstaged by the Screen Actors Guild Award, which took place at the end of January and had a diverse range of winners including Idris Elba and Queen Latifah.

With comedian Chris Rock confirming that he will honour his commitment to host The Oscars and his monologue set to focus on addressing the controversy, the Academy's reputation is no doubt going to take another battering on social media when the ceremony takes place at the end of February.

Dishonourable mentions

It was supposed to mollify a public that is fed up with big business paying too little tax, but Google's offer of £130m in back taxes has pleased nobody and is being described by some as a sweetheart deal with HMRC.

Trying to exploit public sentiment over the death of a much-loved pop icon, such as David Bowie, is never a good idea, as Crocs discovered last month.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen: The restaurant chain decided to pull a series of tongue-in-cheek billboard posters poking fun at vegetarians after it sparked a backlash on social media.

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