Golden Globes welcome 21 diverse members amid racial exclusion scandal
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has invited 21 new journalists into its voting ranks amid other sweeping changes the group behind the Golden Globes says it made to bylaws, eligibility requirements, and standards of conduct in the wake of a public scandal over a lack of Black members in the organization.
Representing a 20 percent increase in overall membership, the 2021 HFPA class comprises 48 percent women, with 29 percent identifying as Black, 29 percent as Latinx, 24 percent as Asian, and 19 percent as Middle Eastern and/or North African, the group announced Friday. The move follows a Los Angeles Times investigation that, in February, exposed a lack of diverse perspectives within the HFPA's then-87-strong membership — notably the inclusion of zero Black journalists in its base.
New HFPA members announced Friday include Raffi Boghosian (Arab News); Kelley Carter (ESPN Global); David Caspi (Israel Hayom); Yong Chavez (ABS-CBN); Andrés Correa Guatarasma (El Universal); Earl Gibson III (Getty Images); Eun Seon Ha (KOFIC); Hamdy Howaida (El Akhbar); Itsuko Hirai (Movie Walker Press); K.J. Matthews (DW-TV); Juan Navarro (Televisa); Jânio Carlos Vieira Nazareth (Cinépop); Ruben Peralta-Rigaud (SensaCine); Gerardo Prat (¡HOLA! TV); Kimberly Reyes (Film Ireland); Mico Saad (TeN TV); Asel Shernivazova (AKIpress News Agency); Gabriel Silva Lamboglia (El País); Miram Spritzer (L'Officiel Brazil); Mario Pacheco Székely (El Universal), and Yuko Yoshikawa (Cinema Today).
The HFPA also brought on an interim chief executive officer in investor Todd Boehly, who has experience as the chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries — owner of MRC and the Golden Globes production company, Dick Clark Productions.
Each journalist was selected from an applicant pool across the last six months. The association further created a new member committee, a credential committee oversight group filled with both HFPA members and non-member journalists, and revamped its membership guidelines: Invitees no longer need accreditation from the Motion Picture Association, can live anywhere in the United States (past rules mandated residency in Southern California), and can now contribute to radio, online, photography, and broadcast outlets versus just print publications.
"They're a group of well-respected journalists from around the world who will bring a variety of unique perspectives to this organization," said Tre'vell Anderson, EW contributor and Beyond the Binary podcast host, who is a member of the association's credential committee alongside four other non-HFPA members: Terry Anzur, Bel Hernandez, Toni Moston, and Allissa Richardson. "That said, we recognize that this is just a first step in a long process, and as a committee, we're excited to build upon our work in the weeks, months and years to come to continue creating a more inclusive and supportive collective."
New HFPA bylaws previously passed in August, with a focus on governance and inclusion that increased seats on its board of directors to 15, created an advisory board to select credentials committee members, and began the search for a chief diversity officer, among other positions. Bylaw changes addressed the group's conduct, stipulating that members "can no longer accept gifts from studios, publicists, actors, directors," and others associated with movies and TV shows, and must pay for their own travel to events. HFPA members must sign a code of conduct for anti-harassment and non-discrimination and undergo diversity, equity, and inclusion training. A hotline overseen by a third-party investigatory process was created for reporting breaches.
In May, the HFPA approved changes aimed at cooling months of controversy over its lack of diversity. At the time, the reforms included meeting a minimum addition of 20 new members by August 2021, increasing the HFPA's membership by 50 percent through 2023 (with a specific focus on welcoming Black members), establishing a diversity, equality, and inclusion strategist, and forming a diverse committee to advise on organizational reform.
Following the L.A. Times report, Ava DuVernay, Regina King, and Kerry Washington addressed the issue on social media, as did the most recent pair of Golden Globes hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, during the broadcast earlier this year (which notched all-time low viewership ratings on NBC).
Marvel superstars Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo spoke out against the HFPA's practices as well, while Tom Cruise gave back his three Golden Globe statuettes in protest. A coalition of 100 publicity firms similarly banded together to demand "profound and lasting change" from the HFPA, and Netflix and Amazon said they would not do business with the group until its problems were resolved.
NBC later confirmed it would not air the Golden Globes in 2022, but would be open to resuming its broadcast in 2023 "assuming the organization executes on its plan" to fix its issues, according to a statement.
Formed in 1943 as a means to distribute Hollywood news to international publications, the HFPA built a reputation for its star-favoring roster of nominees (glittery films like Angelina Jolie's The Tourist and Cher's Burlesque scored nominations despite poor critical reception). The issue intensified across the most recent awards season, with many criticizing the HFPA ignoring Michaela Coel's lauded HBO series I May Destroy You despite recognizing the widely derided (yet commercially successful and, later, Emmy-nominated) Netflix comedy Emily in Paris.
The Times report outlined a 2019 occurrence that saw 30 HFPA members traveling to France to observe production of the Lily Collins-starring series, where they were reportedly treated to a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel, a news conference, and luncheon at the private Musée des Arts Forains museum. Individuals with knowledge of the situation told EW at the time that "all the rules and guidelines" pertaining to campaign standards were followed, and that the 33 guests arranged travel on their own; the only gift that was given, according to sources, was a notebook.
On a different note, the L.A. Times article detailed concerns over the Globes' internal processes, noting that they often reject well-credentialed international journalists on top of allegedly accepting perks from entertainment companies, who then reportedly lobbied members for votes. The piece cited an HFPA representative who added that the association doesn't "control the individual votes of our members," but seeks "to build cultural understanding through film and TV and recognize how the power of creative storytelling can educate people around the world to issues of race, representation, and orientation."
Plans for handing out the 2022 Golden Globes have yet to be revealed. The only other time in recent history that the Globes weren't handed out during a major ceremony came in January 2008, when the HFPA canceled its event in favor of a press conference amid the Writers Guild of America strike.
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