Meanwhile, the HFPA says in a statement, the "overwhelming majority" of the group's members "have chosen to be a part of change."

By Jolie Lash
June 18, 2021 at 06:11 PM EDT

Two writers resigned from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the voting body behind the Golden Globes, on Thursday, slamming the organization as "toxic."

Journalists Diederik van Hoogstraten and Wenting Xu submitted a resignation letter, first obtained by The Los Angeles Times and later confirmed by EW, outlining the writers' reasons for leaving the embattled organization. In the letter, the pair said they had "supported reform" of the group, which has been criticized by the Hollywood community over a variety of issues, including its lack of membership diversity.

But according to the pair's letter, "The majority of the membership resists deep change, despite our lawyers and spokespersons suggesting otherwise publicly. Internal opposition to the status quo has been stifled. Critical voices have largely been ignored."

The journalists also alleged bullying went "unchecked and unpunished." "The badgering of talent and publicists: ditto," they added, further criticizing the organization for what they saw as issues with elections and "internal transparency" related to compensation for jobs within the organization - something the L.A. Times highlighted in an investigation back in Feb. 2021.

Addressing Friday's resignations, HFPA Board members released a statement to EW through a rep, saying it was "disappointing that some members have decided to try and splinter our organization and sow division and doubt," while the "overwhelming majority" of the group's members "have chosen to be a part of change."

"While some may have their own agendas, the Board and membership of the HFPA share one, common goal - passing the transformational change our organization needs," the statement read. "The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is an organization with more than 75 years of history. The amount of change that we have accomplished thus far is only the beginning. This is a crucial time for our organization, and we stand ready to collaborate with our members and outside groups to make this change a reality. We are forever grateful to the members that have decided to stay the course during this historic and trying time to help make this new era a reality for the HFPA."

In a statement to EW on Friday, Xu shared they have received support far and wide since their resignation hit the news.

"After the news broke, we have got tremendous support from publicists and journalists from around the world which includes a Native American reporter. We are grateful that our resignations have a positive ripple effect on calling for more transformative changes inside the HFPA," Xu said in a statement. 

In May, NBC pulled the plug on the Golden Globes ceremony, which had long aired on the broadcast network, as complaints about the HFPA, its lack of diversity in the ranks of the membership, and the way it selects winners continued.

"We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform," NBC said in a statement at the time. "However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023."

NBC's decision came after the HFPA voted for organizational reform a few days earlier, including increasing membership, hiring a diversity, equality, and inclusion strategist; and establishing a committee of "racially and ethnically diverse members who will advise the Board and oversee critical organizational reform.".

Like NBC, Hollywood also wasn't impressed with the HFPA's reforms. 

Time's Up called the changes "window-dressing platitudes" and suggested the adjustments would not be implemented in time to impact the 2022 Globes. 

Additionally, stars like Black Widow's Scarlett Johansson released statements expressing similar sentiments. "Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole," her statement to EW in May read. Her Avengers costar, Mark Ruffalo, called the changes "discouraging," in a post on his Twitter page.

Additionally, Tom Cruise returned the three Golden Globes he won from the organization over the years.

For their part, the resigning HFPA members said in their resignation letter that they hoped to start a "transparent, professional and inclusive organization for the current and next generation of reporters who simply want to work together, without the toxicity."

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