Global Warning: Industry goes cold to HFPA awards…

In the wake of the HFPA's list of woes, NBC has joined the protests saying it will not air the 2022 Golden Globes...

In recent weeks and months the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose members vote for the nominees and recipients of the Golden Globes each year, has come under scrutiny and fire for charges ranging from bias and lack of relevance, to racism. A string of controversial remarks by former HFPA President Phil Berk led to Diversity and Inclusion Advisor Dr. Shaun Harper and the strategic advisory/crisis management firm Smith & Company immediately cutting ties with the organisation and the HFPA expelling Berk as a member. Following long-standing questions about its influence and lack of impact in a crowded awards-driven community, it was also revealed that not a single member of its 87-strong community is black – and hasn’t had a black member in the last two decades – somewhat defying even the most reasonable attempts at or odds of diversity.

NBC broadcast the 2021 awards in February but announced today that it will not do so for 2022. “We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. 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,” read an official NBC statement.

This adds to the wave of reactions that has seen stars like Tom Cruise return their Golden Globes in protest and Scarlett Johansson saying she would actively withdraw support.  “As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows,” Johansson said. “In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences. The HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition, and the industry followed suit. 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.”

Previously the HFPA had said they would address the problems, but the industry believes the changes are neither fast or wide-ranging enough to dig the HFPA out of its current hole. During the 2021 show, a statement was read by the organisation’s vice president Helen Hoehne that said: “Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization,” and HFPA president Ali Sar added that : “…means creating an environment where a diverse membership is the norm, not the exception.”  This month its members voted for a proposal that they said would ultimately overhaul the organisation with a 50% increase in membership over the next 18 months and would look into other conduct and ethics measures.

Industry giants including Netflix, Amazon, HBO and WarnerMedia have now confirmed that they would cease co-operating with with the HFPA until they saw actual evidence of what they referred to as meaningful change.