The Citizen (Gauteng)
Golden Globes approve reforms after racism row
The scandal-hit organisation behind film and television’s Golden Globe Awards last Thursday voted for sweeping reforms after being slammed by Hollywood for its record on diversity.
The Hollywood Foreign
Press Association (HFPA) – a group of 90-odd international journalists who wield outsized influence due to the prestigious Globes – has been reeling since a report in February revealed it has zero black members.
A group of more than 100 Tinseltown publicists wrote to the HFPA in March, demanding an end to “discriminatory behaviour, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption”, joining criticism from the Time’s Up group.
On Thursday, the HFPA overwhelmingly approved a package of reforms including boosting membership by 50% in the next 18 months – including more black journalists – hiring diversity consultants, and ending strict and opaque limits on who gets admitted.
“Today’s overwhelming vote to reform the association reaffirms our commitment to change,” said HFPA president Ali Sar in a statement.
“Because we understand the urgency and issue of transparency, we will be continuously updating the members as we move forward in making our organisation more inclusive and diverse.”
One HFPA member said that “very small numbers said no or abstained – the majority said yes” to the changes.
“I am so relieved – we need to change,” said the member.
The Golden Globes are second in importance only to the Oscars in Hollywood’s film award season, but their future status has been called into question by threats of a boycott over some of the
Former president Philip Berk was expelled last month for forwarding an e-mail dubbing Black Lives Matter a “hate movement”, and two consultants hired to address the HFPA’s diversity issues quit over a lack of progress.
While most HFPA members work regularly for well-known media outlets, the exclusion of countless bona fide journalists has drawn scrutiny. And more broadly, the organisation’s track record of overlooking black- and minority-led films and television series at the Globes is frequently criticised.