FAU Professor Says #OscarSoWhite Boycott Unlikely To Affect Academy Awards

Feb 25, 2016, 10:23 ET from Florida Atlantic University

BOCA RATON, Fla., Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A boycott of Sunday night's Academy Awards to protest the lack of racial diversity among the nominees is unlikely to create the change many hoped for, says a Florida Atlantic University professor who has studied boycotts for almost 20 years.

To persuade people to participate and create a cost for the entity causing the protest movement, you must have a credible and coherent message, and successful boycotts often require a long-term commitment, which Paul Koku, Ph.D., a professor of marketing in FAU's College of Business, said he hasn't seen with this boycott effort.

"I don't think their objective has been clearly articulated," he said. "For a boycott to be effective it has to be well crafted, well organized and it takes time."

For an example of how long it may take, Koku points to the Delano Grape Strike led by Cesar Chavez, which lasted from 1965 to 1970 and included a boycott of table grapes that spread across North America. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, went on for more than a year before a federal ruling led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional.

"It didn't happen overnight, it took over a year of people boycotting public transportation, developing a network, waiting for their friends to pick them up," he said. "It took that long for the powers that be to feel the pinch."

Quick action by the organization being boycotted or threatened by one can also reduce the likelihood of one working. A recent Reuters/Ispos poll found that 44 percent of Americans do not support the idea of boycotting the movie industry's biggest night.

This may have to do with the fact that the survey was conducted Feb. 8-16, about three weeks after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - which votes on the Oscars - announced it would double the amount of women and minorities among its ranks in the next four years.

The academy's quick response to the boycott threat does appear to have blunted its potential support, Koku said, regardless of whether the measures result in more diversity among Oscar nominees in the future.

CONTACT: Jim Hellegaard, 561-319-2233, jhellegaard@fau.edu

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SOURCE Florida Atlantic University