As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but think of the extraordinary people who make this job such a pleasure and a privilege.
In collaboration on various Academy initiatives, I have met and worked with many new colleagues while also strengthening long-standing relationships.
I’m also thinking back on the many wonderful events the Academy hosted in 2017, like Words + Music, Story TV and conversations with Bob Newhart and Tyler Perry — the latter marking our first membership event in Atlanta. In addition, we invited members to professional development panels, networking mixers and more.
And I continue to marvel at the talent and professionalism on display in the creation and production of our award shows, from the College Television Awards and Television Academy Honors to the Los Angeles Area Emmys, Creative Arts Emmys and, of course, the Emmy Awards telecast, plus the Engineering Emmys.
As the latest issue of emmy goes to press, we are preparing for what is sure to be a thrilling Hall of Fame gala on November 15 (look for highlights and photos).
As I remarked during the Emmy broadcast on September 17, increasing inclusion in our industry is a key priority of the Academy. We all know that much more progress lies ahead, but I am proud of the strides we have made, both as an organization and as an industry. From the nominations announcement to all our Emmy shows, we’ve celebrated inclusion throughout this awards season.
We saw, for example, Donald Glover (of FX’s Atlanta) and Lena Waithe (of Netflix’s Master of None) earn Emmys (well, Donald won two!), marking important industry milestones for persons of color as well as the LGBTQ community. And the A&E series Born This Way, a reality series starring seven young adults with Down syndrome, won two Emmys out of six nominations.
The effort to expand opportunities in our industry for persons with disabilities happens to be well documented in our latest issue (“Season of Change,” coming soon). As Television Academy member and longtime disability advocate Tari Hartman Squire notes in the story, “Media, particularly television, has the power to shatter myths or reinforce stereotypes. When it comes to disability, that’s very powerful.”
Unfortunately, much of the recent news about our industry — or, more accurately, the media industry as a whole — has been disturbing. This fall, we have heard reports about sexual harassment and sexual assault allegedly committed by prominent media figures. I wish to restate our position on this subject: the Television Academy believes that sexual harassment and sexual assault are abhorrent and totally unacceptable.
We deeply empathize with those who have been affected and stand united in speaking out against harassment in any and all forms.
We at the Academy understand that as television continues to evolve, so does our organization. We remain, of course, the home of the premier award for honoring excellence in our medium. But our role is also as a thought leader and as an advocate for our members, from the set to the executive suite. These are significant responsibilities, and we take them very seriously.
For this reason and many others, I am humbled to serve this organization and the industry that means so much to all of us, and am grateful for the opportunity.
Chairman and CEO Television Academy