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Protesters near Dolby Theatre urge boycott of Oscars

Rev. Al Sharpton, right, and activist Najee Ali lead a rally prior to the Academy Awards ceremony, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Protesters urging a boycott of the Academy Awards are congregating near the venue where the awards are being presented.

Dozens of protesters converged on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue holding signs and calling for more diversity in feature films. The protest site is near the Dolby Theatre and on a route traveled by many Oscars attendees and media covering the ceremony.

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Some of the signs include the slogans, "Hollywood Must do Better" and "Shame on You."

Protesters also yelled, "Hollywood, Hollywood, you ain't looking so good" and "I got to be up on that screen."

The protests are part of a boycott of the 88th annual Academy Awards organized by Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sharpton called this year's ceremony, which features an all-white slate of acting nominees, the "white Oscars" during a press conference Sunday.

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Veteran actor Louis Gossett Jr. sympathizes with the protesters who say the Oscars should better represent the nation's diversity, but he and colleague Whoopi Goldberg had no interest in boycotting the event.

Gossett says that if the Oscars are going to change, it has to come from the inside.

He spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on the red carpet heading into the event. The 79-year-old actor, who performed in "Roots" and "An Officer and a Gentleman," let his feelings be known when asked who he was rooting for at the Oscars. He mentioned Will Smith, who was not nominated for his role in the movie, "Concussion."

Goldberg, also on the red carpet, says boycotts are a pain.

She said: "If you really want to protest, then don't go to the movies that don't have the people you want to see."

Earlier, Mark Ruffalo and the director of "Spotlight" have joined a group protesting sex abuse in the Catholic Church before Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.

The Los Angeles Times reports Sunday that Ruffalo and director Tom McCarthy joined a group of about 20 people protesting sex abuse in the Catholic Church outside Los Angeles' downtown cathedral.

Ruffalo is nominated for best supporting actor for his role as a tenacious investigative reporter who helped uncover abuse by Catholic priests in a series for the Boston Globe. The film is also nominated for best picture, and McCarthy is nominated for best director and as a co-writer of the script.

The rally was one of several nationwide organized by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Times reports Ruffalo told the group, "I'm here to stand with the survivors and the victims and the people we've lost from Catholic priest childhood sex abuse."

Rev. Al Sharpton is threatening larger protests if the Academy Awards ever has an all-white slate of actors nominated for Oscars again.

Sharpton addressed a group of several dozen protesters near the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars will be handed out Sunday evening. He has called for a boycott of the 88th annual awards show and told the group he will organize larger protests if diversity complaints are not addressed.

Sharpton says, "This will be the last night of an all-white Oscars."

All 20 actors nominated Sunday are white. Sharpton criticized the Oscars for failing to nominate films such as "Straight Outta Compton," ''Creed" or "Concussion" for any of its top honors.

Sharpton led the group in a march around the parking lot of a vacant shopping center in Hollywood. The group shouted, "This is what diversity looks like!"

The Oscars are being hosted by comedian Chris Rock and Sharpton did not want to criticize him.

Sharpton says, "He tells jokes, I tell the truth."

Sharpton also said his group is not protesting actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who is nominated for best actor. Sharpton says, "We are not anti-Leonardo. We are anti-exclusion."

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Related Topics:
entertainmentmoviesmovie newsdiversityblack history monthblack'ishcultureracismprotestsecurity
(Copyright ©2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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