Hollywood Slams Oscars Over Diversity Before Ceremony Starts

Members of the press prepare for red carpet coverage -88th Annual Academy Awards -Getty- H 2016
David McNew/Getty Images

Bette Midler, Shonda Rhimes and Kevin Hart, who is a presenter, all took to twitter Sunday to comment about the lack of diversity at this year's Academy Awards.

While much of Hollywood was getting ready for the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday night, a handful of celebrities took to social media to remind fans about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has enveloped this year's show.

"Know why I hate 'why is diversity so important' question?" veteran TV producer Shonda Rhimes tweeted as stars began walking the red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. "It implies matter should be UP FOR DEBATE. As if LACK of diversity could be valid."

Earlier in the day, Al Sharpton led several dozen demonstrators in protest against a second straight year of all-white acting nominees. Just down the street from where the Oscars take place, demonstrators held signs reading "Hollywood Must Do Better" and "Shame on You." Sharpton vowed, "This will be the last night of an all-white Oscars." 

Kevin Hart, who will present during the ABC event, responded to a fan on Twitter by calling the show "Straight Out Of Touch" and Bette Midler quipped: "The Oscars are today! You know, the awards show where Leonardo DiCaprio is 'overdue' but black people can 'wait till next year.'"

April Reign, the creator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and who is providing her followers with alternate programming options, shared a photo of host Chris Rock with the words, "Powerful. Intentional. Desperate. We see you, @TheAcademy. We're still not watching. #OscarsSoWhite."

Rock will host Sunday's annual awards show, which airs live on ABC at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. See more celebrity reactions on Oscars day below.