Richard Dreyfuss has taken a stand against new diversity laws that will come into affect at next year’s Oscars, saying the new rules make him “vomit”.

The legendary actor condemned the change to the standards, claiming the laws are trying to legislate people’s feelings.

Appearing on PBS show Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, a fired-up Dreyfuss said, “This is an art form. It’s also a form of commerce, and it makes money. But it’s an art.”

“And no one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is.”

Mr Dreyfuss, who famously played Matt Hooper in the 1975 horror film Jaws, went on to say that minorities should not be “catered to” in the arts, but rather awards given based on merit.

“What are we risking? Are we really risking hurting people’s feelings? You can’t legislate that. And– you have to let life be life. And I’m sorry, I don’t think that there is a minority or a majority in the country that has to be catered to like that,” he said.

With the rules set to come into effect in 2024, a film will have to meet certain diversity and inclusion standards in four different categories set out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be considered for “Best Picture” at the Oscars.

The categories, each pertaining to different aspects of a movie’s production, would require new diversity measures to be met through “On-screen Representation,” “Creative Leadership and Project Team,” “Industry Access and Opportunities,” and “Audience Advancement.”

“On-screen Representation” is classified as at least one lead character from an under-represented racial or ethnic group, which the Academy defines as women, people of colour, people who identify as LGBTQ+ or people with disabilities, with the new standards meant to encourage diversity on and off the screen.

Dreyfuss continued his rant about the new standards, saying the rules will limit what roles actors are able to take, and simply described outdated racist ideals as forms of “art”.

“Am I being told that I will never have a chance to play a black man? Is someone else being told that if they’re not Jewish, they shouldn’t play the Merchant of Venice? Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art? This is so patronising. It’s so thoughtless, and treating people like children.”

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.