Criterion Collection Lays Off 20 Percent of Staff After Going Woke and Backing BLM
( Breitbart )
The Criterion Collection — the prestigious DVD and streaming label widely considered the gold standard among serious cinephiles — has reportedly laid off 20 percent of its staff amid a restructuring effort to address “challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
The layoffs come after Criterion immersed itself in wokeness and racial “equity,” declaring in 2020 its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and saying the lack of black representation in its collection was “harmful.” Since then, the company has sought to atone by spotlighting not just ethnic representation, but also transgenderism, in its movie programming and online publications.
This week, Criterion laid off 16 employees from a staff of more than 80, according to an Indiewire report.
“We had to part ways with a number of staffers across several departments as part of a reorganization intended to prepare the company for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, which are markedly different from the ones we had built ourselves up to address in the past,” Criterion president Peter Becker told the outlet.
In 2020, the company publicly declared its support for BLM, saying it will “build a better, more equitable, more diverse Criterion.” It also created a monetary fund that would, in part, go toward assisting bail fund organizations.
In a 2020 interview with the New York Times, Becker said the company had long omitted black cinematic artists.
“There’s nothing I can say about it that will make it OK,” he told the Times. “The fact that things are missing, and specifically that Black [sic] voices are missing, is harmful, and that’s clear. We have to fix that.”
In the subsequent years, Criterion has made a noticeable effort to spotlight black, Asian American, and Latino filmmakers and stars, especially on its streaming service, The Criterion Channel. The label has also enthusiastically embraced transgenderism, including online essays about transgenders and cinema.
Criterion’s edition of the 1987 movie Moonstruck features an essay by Vox’s transgender critic Emily VanDerWerff who analyzes the Oscar-winning comedy through the lens of gender transition, even though the movie has no transgender characters.
The Criterion Collection is a subsidiary of Janus Films, the revered independent film distribution company.