Shonda Rhimes says HFPA rejected Bridgerton press conference until it became a hit
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization best known for awarding the Golden Globes, continues to fall under scrutiny.
On Tuesday, Bridgerton executive producer Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter to call out the organization's alleged dismissiveness toward Black-led projects, as described in an exclusive story in The Wrap.
Rhimes re-tweeted the story, which claims that the HFPA rejected press conferences and other promotional events for Black projects such as Bridgerton, Girls Trip, and Queen & Slim.
"HFPA rejected our press conference. Until it was a 'surprise hit' (Grey's, Scandal, Murder -SURPRISE!) And yet they STILL asked me to show up in person to present at the Globes. We're not the only ones. This is why HFPA's house is on fire. They lit the flame w/their own ignorance," Rhimes wrote. "And I'm the lucky one. More important: think of all the great talent and shows out there that never even got a chance."
Despite breaking Netflix records and receiving critical praise, Bridgerton did not receive any Golden Globe nominations in 2021. In contrast, it has received Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series and Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series for star Regé-Jean Page.
Allegedly, the HFPA declined a press conference for Bridgerton before hurriedly seeking to throw an event together only a few days before voting closed after the show premiered to explosive success over the holidays.
Rhimes wasn't the only major Hollywood force to call out the HFPA in the wake of the article's allegations. Director-writer-producer Ava DuVernay also tweeted out the article, detailing her own experiences with the HFPA while promoting her critically acclaimed 2019 Netflix series When They See Us.
"For the WHEN THEY SEE US/ HFPA press conference, less than 20 of them showed up," she wrote. "Based on the quality of their questions, I jokingly asked, 'Have any of you seen the series?' Crickets. More came in the room when the pix were to be taken, at which time two peddled their scripts."
Despite receiving 16 Emmy nominations and winning two, When They See Us was ignored completely by the Golden Globes last year.
This is just the latest in a series of scandals that have plagued the HFPA, an organization that has long been scrutinized (and even openly mocked by Golden Globe hosts like Ricky Gervais) for their cronyism and alleged corruption.
Things came to a head just before the 2021 Golden Globe awards when a Los Angeles Times article revealed that the 87-member group did not have a single Black journalist among its ranks and has not for more than two decades.
Time's Up and many celebrities called out the Globes prior to the ceremony with statements on social media and the hashtag #TimesUpGlobes. The HFPA addressed the issue during the ceremony telecast, both in hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's opening monologue and in remarks from HFPA members who stated, "We have our own work to do."
On Monday, over 100 Hollywood public relations firms pledged to withhold their clients from HFPA events and interviews if "profound and lasting" change is not made. Since then, the HFPA has vowed to increase its ranks to 13 percent Black membership by next year's Golden Globe Awards.
The HFPA did not respond immediately to EW's request for comment.