2020 and Beyond: AMC Networks Works to Build a More Inclusive, Equitable Workplace 

A picture containing person, hairpiece    Description automatically generated"While AMC Networks has always prided itself on being a warm and human place to work, let's acknowledge that the playing field isn't level for all humans," AMC Networks shared with staff in a memo on June 1. "Let's make it our mission to rectify that where we can with open hearts and minds and with enough strength to be humble and learn from those who experience discrimination firsthand. Let's send love and compassion to those hurting right now and pledge to support and stand with them at this moment and beyond. We want to hear from you."  

The summer of 2020 was a moment that shone a spotlight on the deep roots of bias and systemic racism across our nation. AMC Networks acknowledged this critical moment with its employees and artists, and took steps to embolden and strengthen its position as a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. From employee-driven philanthropy programs, internal events and conversations with top leadership and creators of the company’s programming, to welcoming a new Chief Diversity Officer, 2020 was a year of reflection and action at AMC Networks.  

Encouraging Employees to Come Together & Give Back 

In response to global social justice protests, AMC Networks asked employees to identify charitable advocacy organizations to receive a $1,000 donation from the company. The company's goal was to put the power of giving in employees' hands and spread donations among organizations that employees already work with and support in an effort to distribute the money more widely and help smaller organizations that work at the grassroots level. The donation program was open to all full-time employees across the globe. Contributions were made to charities including the Equal Justice Initiative, Mothers Against Police Brutality, the National Urban League, Amnesty International and others. AMC Networks also gave employees June 4 as a day off for a "Day of Reflection" and added Juneteenth as a company holiday. 

The company hosted a virtual company-wide Town Hall discussion with two champions for diversity in the media and entertainment industry: President and CEO of the NCTA — The Internet & Television Association Michael K. Powell, and advocate/actor/writer/director Colman Domingo, known for his starring role in AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead," as well as films like "Selma" and "If Beale Street Could Talk." Moderated by CEO Josh Sapan, the conversation addressed the social moment, how employees were feeling and how to move forward as part of a more socially conscious community.  

Empowering Employee Resource Groups & Fostering a Culture of Learning 

AMC Network's 12 employee resource groups (ERGs), which serve a diverse array of backgrounds and interests across the company, provided a critical resource as the company assessed its overall progress and instituted new benchmarks for diversity, equity and inclusion goals. CEO Josh Sapan and Chief Transformation and People Officer Jennifer Caserta attended meetings for each of the ERGs throughout the summer of 2020 and listened to employees as they shared their thoughts, concerns and hopes for meaningful progress at the company.  

From these meetings and many other deep-dive conversations around dismantling bias and institutional oppression, AMC Networks reaffirmed its commitment to fostering a new diversity, equity and inclusion mission informed by the honest and invaluable feedback from its diverse and passionate employee base.  

Setting Goals & Moving Forward 

To steer and grow these efforts, AMC Networks welcomed Aisha Thomas-Petit in November as its first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, reporting to CEO Josh Sapan. In this new role, Thomas-Petit will build on the company's current DEI foundation and play an integral role in setting the strategy to develop and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce within the company, as well as representation behind-the-camera and on-screen.  

Diversifying AMC Network's workforce and cultivating an inclusive culture will remain top priorities throughout 2021 and beyond with a focus on employee training and engagement initiatives, development and mentorship programs, internships, support of HBCUs, and partnerships with diversity and social justice organizations.   

"Diversity, equity and inclusion are more than business imperatives that spur creativity and drive innovation; they are at the heart of who we aspire to be and are interwoven into the very fabric of the company," CEO Sapan announced in a 2020 press release announcing Thomas-Petit's appointment.  

For more information about AMC Networks Diversity & Inclusion goals for its workforce, please visit AMCNetworks.com.