HBO Shows How Not to Launch a Diversity Program

By Michael Nam

The problems faced by the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship’s application program last week serves as a harsh lesson for companies and organizations making attempts to diversify their industries.

The program itself is set up to encourage those identifying as “Asian Pacific, Sub-Continent Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Middle Eastern, and/or women” to apply to be mentored by creative executives with HBO and Cinemax.

However, as points out, some of the general rules could be viewed as undermining the attempt to truly diversify writing staffs. The number of online applicants was originally limited to 1,000, and the initial classes for those selected require an individual or a team to make their own way to Santa Monica, Calif., which could be a hardship for many possible applicants outside of Southern California. Additionally, a guideline serves to accept a wider pool of industry professionals, “applicants may have previously served as staff writer for up to 13 episodes. They should not have more than 1 feature film released by a studio, independently or shown in major film festivals. Or had 2 plays produced on or off Broadway,” which makes the cap even smaller for those not yet with a foothold.

Adding to these issues were site crashes for the application form hosted on the web portal Without A Box, a film community website. HBO and Without A Box underestimated the number of writers wishing to apply for the fellowship. With the cap limit, many potential applicants found themselves shut out almost immediately due to these web site issues. enumerated some of the frustrations that boiled over into Twitter under the hashtag #hboaccess, where users expressed anger and ironic amusement over the ‘access’ portion of the name.

In response to the backlash over the program’s early woes, received a statement from HBO:

“The site was unable to handle the volume of activity at the time of launch,” HBO said in a statement to Deadline. “Without A Box worked quickly to resolve the issue, but due to the overwhelming number of applicants the site is moving slowly. In response to the demand for the program, HBO will expand the number of applicants it will review and grant waivers to some who were unable to access the site at the time of launch. Applicants may request a waiver by sending an email to with REQUEST FOR WAIVER in the subject line. Waivers will be granted on a first-come basis until the new cap is reached.”

There is no word on what the new cap might be, and the current guidelines do not appear to have been changed at the time of this writing.

Latest News, adp, women, grace hopper

ADP Recognized for “World’s Most Admired Companies” List for 14th Consecutive Year

Originally posted on ADP Recognized on FORTUNE Magazine’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” List for 14th Consecutive Year ADP, a leading global technology company providing human capital management (HCM) solutions, has been named by FORTUNE® magazine as one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” in 2020.  This marks the 14th…


Despite Drops in Insurance Coverage in the US, Companies Are Stepping Up

In 2018, 27.5 million people (8.5% of the U.S. population) did not have health insurance. That’s the highest number of uninsured Americans since 2009, according to a report from the US Census Bureau. Despite a strong economy, increasingly more Americans have no coverage. The dip is driven mostly by fewer people qualifying for Medicaid. People of color are particularly affected…

AIG Lynn Oldfield Named CEO of the Year

Lynn Oldfield Named CEO of the Year at Insurance Business Canada Awards  Lynn Oldfield, President and CEO of AIG Canada, was recently named CEO of the year at the Insurance Business Canada awards, in recognition of her “exceptional leadership” and other criteria in excellence. “This award is a reflection of…

Toyota Releases 2019 North American Environmental Report

Originally published on Toyota is committed to supporting and fostering a more inclusive and sustainable society. To achieve that goal, the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 was developed to address major environmental issues facing the global community, such as climate change, water scarcity, resource depletion and habitat loss. Based on…