In the year 2021, it seems absurd that a group of adults who have wielded a certain amount of power in Hollywood for nearly 80 years have to be told to be less racist, but here we are. After decades of questionable behavior, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—the secretive group that hands out the Golden Globes… and doesn’t have a single Black member—is finally promising to do better.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the HFPA board sent a letter to its members on Monday outlining a massive set of “structural changes” they plan to make to the organization, with an specific focus on diversity:
“The proposal of the board, now endorsed by the full membership, calls on the organization to admit ‘at least 20 new members in 2021, with a specific focus on recruiting Black members,’ and with ‘a goal of increasing the membership by 50% over the next 18 months.’ It also eliminates the requirement that HFPA members must reside in Southern California, expanding eligibility to any qualified journalist living in the U.S. who works for a foreign outlet.
In addition, they’ve outlined “a new code of conduct” for members in regards to press trips and other promotional perks that have long been seen as a (rather successful) way to sway voters. The Netflix series Emily in Paris became a lightning rod in the discussion of “buying” votes when, after being nominated for Best Television Series and Best Performance by an Actress for lead Lily Collins, it was learned that several of the organization’s members were treated to a luxurious Parisian production visit. Hell, even one of the show’s own writers (rightfully) called out the HFPA for nominating it over Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You.
More troubling, of course, is the fact that of the HFPA’s nearly 90 members, not one of them is Black. In April, the group ousted Phil Berk—a veteran member of the group for nearly half a century, and its former president—for sending out an extremely racist email. The boot was a long time coming for Berk, who faced zero consequences after groping Brendan Fraser at an official HFPA event in 2003. (Berk, by the way, totally admitted to doing it—he just laughed it off as a joke.)
While the organization’s plans seem to be enough for NBCUniversal and Dick Clark Productions, who broadcast and produce the annual Golden Globe Awards, respectively, only time will tell whether the organization can truly turn a corner.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)