All of Hollywood had a jolt this week as NBC announced that they would not be broadcasting the Golden Globes in the coming year. The same day, actor Tom Cruise returned the three Golden Globe he’s won in protest against the organization responsible for the awards: the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). All this comes amid increased media pressure on the HFPA as prominent Hollywood figures call for a boycott of the organization. But what is all this fuss?
The backlash faced by the HFPA and the Globes is simply a result of their racist, exclusionist, and chauvinistic policies.
How it All Began
The HFPA claims to be a non-profit organization of journalists and photographers reporting on the US entertainment industry abroad. The HFPA has repeatedly faced accusations of inconsiderate practices, such as lobbying and favoritism over the years.
The organization first came under the microscope in 2018 when actor Brendan Fraser accused former president Phillip Berk of sexual harassment. Since then, several stories have come up concerning the professional malpractices found at the HFPA, with calls for a boycott mounting each year.
Things came to a head earlier this year when a Los Angeles Times expose revealed the extent of the HFPA’s malpractices. Related were several instances of bullying, lobbying, nepotism, and self-dealing.
According to the report, the HFPA pays several of its employees over $1 million annually to serve on its committees, which is liable to bring down its non-profit designation. Moreover, new memberships were often handed out to friends and family, without care for merit.
However, the most pressing issue is the exclusionary and racist composition of the HFPA. The organization has not hired a single black member since 2002. In fact, none of the 87 current members of the HFPA is black. With each new member requiring the sponsorship of two existing members, the HFPA’s lack of black representation can only be intentional. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has actively excluded black journalists.
Furthermore, the HFPA fired Phillip Berk in April of this year for sharing an article that described Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement” with his fellow members. The values of the HFPA can be easily determined by how comfortable Berk felt in sharing something this irresponsible with his peers.
The HFPA’s Response
The HFPA vowed to introduce “sweeping changes” to its organizational setup amid increased criticism by the media and Hollywood celebrities. It promised increased diversity, with a focus on offering more membership slots to black journalists. However, the proposed reforms faced wide criticism for the proposed 18 months required to implement them. For many criticizing the HFPA, the proposed period was far too long, considering the decades HFPA has spent with its racist policies and professional malpractices.
The HFPA has conceded to the growing criticism and promised to bring reforms till August this year. Still, for many, it is a little too late. The HFPA has been allowed to thrive and go unchecked despite its racist policies, moral and financial corruption, and misuse of power. It is time to hold the HFPA accountable and make sure Time’s Up for them.