The recent backlash against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has hit a fever pitch. CNN reports that NBC has decided not to air next year’s Golden Globes awards ceremony. The network’s decision has splintered a relationship with the nonprofit organization that began in 1993.
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” NBC said in a statement released today via CNN. “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,” NBC continued via CNN.
According to CNN, the Peacock network reneged on its partnership with the organization due to the number of controversies that spurred from a Los Angeles Times article last year. The article’s biggest revelations included the organization’s stark lack of diversity as well as questionable benefits paid to former and current members. The HFPA recently sought to curb these inequities with the swift hiring of Black journalists, bringing the percentage from zero to 13 percent. But this attempt fell flat once an email from the organization’s former president revealed antiBlack sentiments; specifically categorizing the Black Lives Matter movement as a “hate group.”
CNN reports NBC is not the only major media outlet to speak up regarding the HFPA’s need for restructuring as of late. Netflix and WarnerMedia both issued statements on revoking their participation from the Golden Globes until major changes are made. Actors have come forward as well, including Mark Ruffalo, Tom Cruise, and Scarlett Johansson, urging the entire industry to withdraw its support of the nonprofit.
This isn’t the first controversy that has plagued the HFPA, as it has a history of internal conflicts dating back to the early 1980s. According to CNN, its move to NBC was the result of a 1981 scandal that resembled last year’s Emily in Paris scenario. The award show was dropped by then-TV partner CBS after that year’s winners for Best Picture allegedly bribed members with a paid trip to Las Vegas.
Despite this abrupt bombshell, NBC is looking forward to the show returning to its network, according to CNN. Upon the organization’s dutiful restructuring, NBC is “hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
According to Deadline, the HFPA issued a statement in response to NBC’s decision and the growing fervor. In the statement, they describe their proposed timeline for reform. Read the statement and timeline below:
Regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes, implementing transformational changes as quickly – and as thoughtfully – as possible remains the top priority for our organization.
We invite our partners in the industry to the table to work with us on the systemic reform that is long overdue, both in our organization as well as within the industry at large.
Our below timeline demonstrates our commitment to achieving these goals with extreme urgency:
HFPA – Reform Milestones
Week of May 3
Members meet, consider, and overwhelmingly vote to approve and implement the Board’s plan for transformational change
Board continues to meet with advocacy groups to develop initiatives to fulfill the HFPA’s commitment to add at least 20 new members by August 2021 and increase membership by 50% in 18 months
Eradicating the new member one year moratorium on voting; All new members will have all voting rights day 1.
Board and members approve hiring of Ropes & Gray to amend and restate Bylaws and other governing documents to implement member-approved plan for transformational change
Weeks of May 10 and 17
Revise and approve new Code of conduct in consultation with Publicists and studios
Continue outreach to potential new member candidates
Publish Code of Conduct and establish Hotline for reporting of violations
Engage independent third party investigator to review and respond promptly to all Hotline claims
Interview candidates and engage new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”) consultant
Identify and recruit independent, outside professionals and non-Board members and form Accountability/Oversight Board (“Advisory Board”) to oversee HFPA Board in implementing plan for transformational change
Interview Executive Search Firms to commence search for Chief DEI/HR Officer and identification of potential CEO/CFO and other executives to lead HFPA
HFPA website to be continuously updated to show progress against plan and to list promised Member information (biographies, publications, affiliations, etc.)
Weeks of May 24 and 31
New DEI Consultant and other outside experts conduct mandatory member trainings for DEI and sexual harassment
Board and Advisory Board continue work on identification of applicants to fulfill commitment to add at least 20 new members by August 2021
Grants Officer and subcommittee of members continue work to increase support of internship, mentorship, and scholarship programs for students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in international journalism
Identify and recruit independent, outside professionals for new Credentials Committee, which will oversee new membership application process and reaccreditation of current members based on same criteria as new members
Continue review of committee structure / compensation
First reading of Bylaw Amendments at General Membership Meeting (“GMM”)
Weeks of June 7, 14, and 21
Focus groups with members, Advisory Board, and Ropes & Gray to review amendments to Bylaws and other governing documents
Board assesses and evaluates recommendations of Executive Search Firm for new Executive Officer team
Form new Credentials Committee
All above work streams on trainings, mentorship, and recruitment continue
Week of June 28
Second reading of Bylaw Amendments at GMM
Ballots for voting on Bylaw Amendments mailed to members
Implement new policies on Gifts, Travel, Conflicts of Interest, and Press Conferences
Week of July 5
Members vote on Bylaw Amendments by ballot
Weeks of 12 and 19
Approved Bylaw Amendments become effective
New Officer and Board elections under amended and restated Bylaws
New membership process opens per new criteria enacted in amended and restated Bylaws
All existing members required to meet same standards as new members for reaccreditation of their membership
Week of July 26
New member process continues
Week of August 2
New members admitted to HFPA
New Board elected, including independent members, in accordance with amended and restated Bylaws
New CEO/CFO and other Executive Team approved and engaged to manage HFPA
Existing Board and Officers resign upon election of New Board and hiring of Executive Team via Deadline.