HFPA Plans for 'Transformational Change' amid Diversity Controversy, Time's Up Says It's 'Not Enough'

Last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has zero Black members

Golden Globe Statuettes
Golden Globe statuettes. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has unveiled plans for "transformational change" within the organization after years of backlash for a lack of diversity — but Time's Up says the new plans are "not enough."

The HFPA, a group of 87 international journalists that determine the nominees and winners of the Golden Globe Awards each year, came under fire last month when the Los Angeles Times reported that the group has no Black members.

A second report from the LA Times, published the same day, claimed that the HFPA members receive lavish perks from the studios and networks whose projects HFPA members later write about and vote on.

Late Saturday evening, the HFPA shared a statement across their social media pages laying out their plans for change, including "hiring an independent expert in organizational diversity, equity and inclusion."

"Among other important tasks, this expert will audit our bylaws and membership requirements to help us guard against any exclusionary practices and achieve a more diverse membership. We are also mandating annual anti-racism and unconscious bias education and sexual harassment training for every member of the HFPA," the statement said.

The other plans include focusing on "adding Black and other underrepresented professionals" to the organization, hiring a law firm to review the HFPA policies and increasing "support of internship, mentorship, and scholarship programs for Black and other underrepresented students."

In response, the Time's Up organization, which has been vocal about enacting change in how the Golden Globes are run, released a statement casting doubt on the new measures.

"So NBCUniversal, Dick Clark Productions and the HFPA just declared that they have a plan to fix problems they've ignored for decades. We're not so sure," the statement began.

"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 statement continued. "The right words are not enough. The clock is ticking."

After the 2021 Golden Globe nominees were announced in February, many Black-led projects were viewed as snubs, including Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and the hit HBO series I May Destroy You created by Micaela Coel. Both were critically acclaimed projects that received no nominations.

Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett, stars of HBO's Lovecraft Country, were both excluded from the honors, as was Uzo Aduba for FX's Mrs. America, despite winning best supporting actress in a limited series category at the Emmy Awards last September.

The LA Times report also revealed that in 2019, over 30 HFPA members flew to France to visit the set of Netflix's Emily In Paris. While there, the members were treated by Paramount Network to a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel and a news conference and lunch at the Musée des Arts Forains.

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Despite receiving mostly negative reviews from critics, Emily in Paris scored two Golden Globe nominations, one for the series itself and the second for star Lily Collins.

Various stars referenced the controversy during the Feb. 28 awards ceremony itself, including hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who called out the fact that there are no Black members in the HFPA.

Schitt's Creek star Dan Levy said during his acceptance speech that he hopes next year's Globes reflect "the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today," while Sacha Baron Cohen thanked the "all-white Hollywood Foreign Press."

Jane Fonda, while receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award, specifically gave a shout-out to I May Destroy You and spoke about the importance of diversity in storytelling.

"Stories, they really can change people," she said. "But there's a story that we've been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry: a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out. A story about who's offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the rooms where decisions are made."

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