Los Angeles- July 7, 2017 - In 2015, Mena Arts Advocacy Coalition (MAAC) began challenging SAG-AFTRA on the subject of MENA (Middle Eastern North African) actors and the struggles they faced surrounding inclusion. This year, SAG-AFTRA leadership took the challenge all the way to the negotiating table during contract discussions with AMPTP and successfully negotiated re-drafting the SAG-AFTRA Casting Dating Report (CDR) in the producer contracts for the first time in 37 years to include Middle Eastern North African in its new deal:
The recognition and inclusion in the new contracts alongside the previous categories listed (Caucasian, Latin American, African American, Asian American, and Native American/Pacific Islander) is a huge win for MENA communities. Providing support for MENA artists from SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP will help pave the way for potential increases in representation, and help lessen the often-seen stereotypical portrayal of MENA actors. MAAC and its advisory council vigorously applaud SAG-AFTRA leadership and the AMPTP for this inclusion.
Founded by MENA (Middle Eastern North African) actors in the United States., MAAC began when its founder, Azita Ghanizada, was informed she was considered Caucasian by a major television network. She realized that in the new world of diversity and inclusion, an entire region of the world was being erased. It became no longer palatable to exist in Hollywood without a coalition that advocated for MENA actors and the increasing issues surrounding their images. She began reaching out to fellow MENA performers. Together, they successfully began collecting their stories, gathering crucial data and speaking directly to their unions leadership and organically MAAC was created.
For More Information: MENAInTheArts@icloud.com
Azita Ghanizada, Founder