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

HFPA’s controvers­ies.

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.

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