Academy Award Winner Louis Gossett Jr. Withdraws From Inaugural Purple Ball, Cites Lack of Diversity by Planners

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Oscar winner and Hollywood icon Louis Gossett Jr. announced Thursday, Jan. 8, that he is withdrawing his personal support and that of his Eracism Foundation from the Inaugural Purple Ball and its planners, Asal Masomi PR, citing a lack of diversity and inclusion on the host committee and with the entertainment.

Oscar winner and Hollywood icon Louis Gossett Jr. announced today that he is withdrawing his personal support and that of his Eracism Foundation from the Inaugural Purple Ball and its planners, Asal Masomi PR, citing a lack of diversity and inclusion on the host committee and with the entertainment.

Mr. Gossett's Statement:

"In the early phase of the planning process when I was approached regarding the Eracism Foundation being the beneficiary of the Inaugural Purple Ball, I explicitly stated that diversity and inclusion were paramount. However, there is a notable lack of diversity both on the host committee and the entertainment, which does not reflect either the mission of the Eracism Foundation or President-elect Obama's vision for America.

"The concept of the Purple Ball was to embrace President-elect Obama's ideal that there is 'one America, not a collection of blue or red states, but the United States of America.' My reason for initially getting involved and allowing my foundation to serve as the beneficiary of the ball was to both support that ideal as well as to celebrate the spirit of diversity, bipartisanship and the next generation of Americans - the children. Unfortunately, the planners of the ball chose to go in another direction. It is therefore with deep regret that I withdraw my support since this event does not represent the spirit and/ or vision of an inclusive America.

"For those who wish to support the Eracism Foundation we will be holding a series of fundraising events in 2009, so please check our website for information about where and when those events will occur."

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Colette Phillips
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