HFPA reveals plan for ‘transformational change’ after Golden Globes diversity scandal

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has unveiled a new action plan for diversifying its ranks, less than a week after the group vowed to be more inclusive at the Golden Globes Awards.

A statement shared Saturday night by the HFPA announced that the organization is committing to “transformational change” in the next 60 days by focusing on adding Black and other underrepresented professionals to the group; hiring an independent law firm to establish a process for reporting and investigating ethical violations; creating transparent processes for voting, eligibility and membership; and supporting Black and underrepresented students interested in a career in international journalism.

The HFPA has always been about “elevating future film and television professionals from all walks of life unified by their shared passion and love for film and television,” the statement read. “But we must and will do more.”

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A recent Los Angeles Times investigation found the HFPA had no Black members, calling attention to the fact that Black-led awards season contenders such as “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” failed to earn nominations in the Globes’ best-picture categories this year. The group also came under fire for paying its own members to serve as officers and committee members.

Among the specifics of the announcement:

  • The group will employ an independent expert to “audit our bylaws and membership requirements to help us guard against any exclusionary practices. We are also mandating annual anti-racism and unconscious bias education and sexual harassment training for every member of the HFPA.”
  • A third-party law firm will be hired “to ensure we are aligned with and exceed industry best practices.”
  • A process will be set up through which members, partners, vendors and artists can report ethical violations “with the confidence that it will be fully and fairly investigated and will have clear and serious consequences for those in violation.”
  • The HFPA will support internship, mentorship and scholarship programs for underrepresented journalism students.

“We are committed to achieving these objectives in order to increase transparency in our organization and build a more inclusive community,” the statement pledged.

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The advocacy organization Time’s Up expressed skepticism about the HFPA announcement almost immediately.

“The HFPA just declared that they have a plan to fix problems they’ve ignored for decades. We’re not so sure,” Time’s Up president and CEO Tina Tchen said in a statement. “On behalf of the many artists who look to us to hold the HFPA’s feet to the fire on the racism, disrespect, misogyny and alleged corrupt financial dealings of the Golden Globes, we need to see specific details, timetables for change and firm commitments. The right words are not enough. The clock is ticking.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ratings for the Golden Globes plunged 64% from 2020 to just 6.9 million viewers. Aside from 2008, when winners were announced at a news conference as a result of a writer’s strike, this year’s show had the smallest audience since NBC began airing the awards in 1996.

Contributing: David Oliver, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press

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