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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association said they "acknowledge that we should have done more, and sooner"

By Nicholas Rice
March 16, 2021 09:57 AM
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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) says it's taking steps to make good on promised changes.

The HFPA, the organization that hosts the Golden Globe Awards, has committed to increasing its membership to "a minimum" of 100 members this year, "with a requirement that at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists," according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter.

The response from the HFPA followed a firestorm of controversy surrounding last month's Golden Globes, and shortly after more than 100 public relations firms sent the association a letter on Monday calling for the organization to make these changes.

The HFPA — which is currently composed of a small selection of 87 international journalists that determine the nominees and winners of the annual awards ceremony — presently has no Black members.

"We are committed to making necessary changes within our organization and in our industry as a whole," the HFPA said, per THR. "We also acknowledge that we should have done more, and sooner."

"While we recognize this is a long-term process, we will continue to be transparent, provide updates, and have confidence in our ability to change and restore trust in our organization and the Golden Globes," the organization added.

Golden Globe Trophy
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In the letter from public relations firms, which was shared on Twitter by ID PR, the various groups called upon the HFPA to "swiftly manifest profound and lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos and pervasive practice of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption."

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The letter continued, stating that the many agencies would not "advocate" for their clients to take part in HFPA events and interviews until the changes occurred.

"While we stand ready to support your good faith efforts, please know that anything less than transparent, meaningful change that respects and honors the diversity and dignity of our clients, their colleagues and our global audience will result in immediate and irreparable damage to the relationship between our agencies, our clients and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and those who sanction the institutional inequity and insular culture that currently define it," the letter added.

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Earlier this year, after a Los Angeles Times report highlighted that the association has no Black members, an HFPA representative told the outlet that the group is aware of the issue and is "committed to addressing" it.

The HFPA later spoke about the controversy during the broadcast of the 2021 Golden Globes last month. Three members from the organization appeared on the stage during the ceremony and shared a statement of intent to fix the lack of representation.

"Tonight while we celebrate the work of artists from around the globe we recognize we have our own work to do. Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization," Helen Hoehne said at the time.

"We must also ensure everyone from all underrepresented communities gets a seat at our table and we are going to make that happen," Meher Tatna added.

"That means creating an environment where diverse membership is the norm, not the exception. Thank you and we look forward to a more inclusive future," said Ali Sar.