Apple Studios Sued by Native American Costume Designer Over Awards Exclusion and Discrimination

Apple Studios Sued by Native American Costume Designer Over Awards Exclusion and Discrimination - Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Apple TV+ Photo Source: Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Apple TV+ via

Apple Studios is facing a lawsuit from Kristi Marie Hoffman, a Native American costume designer who alleges she was excluded from awards consideration for her work on the film Killers of the Flower Moon in retaliation for raising complaints of discrimination. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims Hoffman was sidelined despite having contributed significantly to the film's costume design.

Hoffman asserts in her lawsuit that she completed "most of the research and costume design for the film," but her contributions were "completely ignored." The film, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has received critical acclaim, garnering 10 Oscar nominations, seven Golden Globe nominations, and three SAG Award nominations. It was also nominated by the Costume Designers Guild for excellence in a period film.

The lawsuit details that Hoffman was initially listed alongside lead costume designer Jacqueline West as the first assistant costume designer when the Costume Designers Guild Award nominations were first announced. However, at West's request, Hoffman's name was removed from the nominations list, which was then applied to all assistant costume designers, including those in secondary roles.

Hoffman challenged this decision, and the guild found that West’s removal was "improper." Despite this finding, Hoffman alleges that she continued to be excluded from further awards consideration, including the Oscar nomination for costume design.

Hoffman claims that when she raised concerns about her exclusion to West, the guild, and Apple Studios, her complaints were ignored. This led her to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discrimination, resulting in a settlement in 2022.

According to the complaint, the costume design work for the film was ultimately credited to Jacqueline West and consultant Julie O’Keefe, with Hoffman's contributions being downplayed or ignored entirely. Hoffman highlights her design of the jacket worn by lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio, which received significant praise for its authenticity and originality.

The lawsuit names West, the Costume Designers Guild, and Apple Studios, bringing claims for breach of contract, false advertising, retaliation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Hoffman seeks damages and an injunction to prevent those named in the lawsuit from making statements that minimize her contributions to the film.

Bridget Luckey
Bridget Luckey
Bridget studied Communications and Marketing at California State University, Long Beach. She also has experience in the live music events industry, which has allowed her to travel to festivals around the world. During this period, she acquired valuable expertise in branding, marketing, event planning, and public relations.
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