This year may represent a tipping point for the Golden Globe Awards. This winter, amid widespread outcry over some of 2021’s baffling nominations and snubs — the bland Emily in Paris received a couple of nods while Michaela Coel’s revelatory I May Destroy You was shut out entirely — the Los Angeles Times published a bombshell report detailing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s shady practices and lack of diversity. Perhaps most notably, along with a history of self-dealing and what essentially amounts to a payola-type nominating system — studios that lavish free trips and swag on HFPA members routinely receive nominations — the Times reporting revealed that the tax-exempt group of 87 international journalists includes exactly zero Black members.
On Monday, the HFPA announced a sweeping plan to address this crucial lack and promote diversity more broadly within its ranks. As reported in Variety, the organization’s board aims to admit 20 new members this year, focusing specifically on recruiting Black members. Over the coming 18 months, they aim to increase membership by 50-percent, again focusing on recruiting members from “underrepresented groups.”
In a statement, the HFPA’s board said that they had worked to craft the proposed changes over the past 60 days. “We have engaged in much-needed, deep introspection with the help and guidance of our outside advisors, experts in diversity and inclusion, and our media partners. Together, we have created a roadmap for transformational change in our organization.”
That roadmap will still have to be approved by the HFPA’s membership this summer. But, according to Deadline, the organization’s current board has threatened to resign en masse if the motion does not pass.
Even as NBC, which airs the Golden Globes, and Dick Clark Productions, which produces the show, praised the proposed changes this week, the Times published more damning reporting about a meeting last month between HFPA consultants and entertainment industry insiders. “The publicists and advocates expected a preview of substantive reforms,” the Times reported. “Instead, as one later complained, the HFPA’s emissaries were ‘ill prepared and uninformed.’” The meeting resulted in the resignation of diversity and inclusion adviser, Shaun Harper.
"Our clients have endured racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. We can no longer just shake our heads in disbelief,” Cindi Berger, chairman of R&CPMK, said. https://t.co/So8qMTFdO1 pic.twitter.com/JQvPob3Tm5
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 3, 2021
For now, many of the industry’s most influential publicists have pledged to withhold their clients from HFPA events, which could mean disaster for an awards show known for its glitz and the off-the-cuff interactions of its A-list attendees. “Our clients have endured racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia,” R&CPMK chair Cindi Berger told the Times. “We can no longer just shake our heads in disbelief.”
It remains to be seen whether the new proposals can save the Globes.