Aiming to beat a self-imposed reform deadline set in March, the board of the besieged Hollywood Foreign Press Association today released a self-created plan to overhaul the 86-member non-profit Golden Globes organizing group, maybe.
No one has been hired yet and nothing really happens until the full membership ratifies it. However, the HFPA, which lacks a single Black member, are now promising not only to bring “Black and other racially diverse journalists into our organization,” as well as a Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion officer and self-described oversight board to help with “critical organizational reform.” Additionally, the 78-year old outfit is going to change the way money changes hands internally, hold members accountable, limit board terms, and bring in “a professional management staff, including, but not limited to, a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Financial Officer.”
READ THE FULL HFPA BOARD LETTER HERE
“We know that the past few months have presented many challenges for our members, and we appreciate all of the time and effort you have invested in this process thus far,” said a letter from the HFPA Board to the group’s members, outlining the changes they propose. “We want to be clear – these outlined changes are just the first steps in the long journey ahead. We also know that in this existential moment for our association, change is difficult and sometimes scary.”
“The Board, as well as our outside partners, wholeheartedly endorse this reimagination of our organization,” the correspondence goes on to say. “We must meet this moment, knowing that if we join together in support, we can become a better organization and, with hard work, an example of diversity, transparency and accountability in the industry for others to follow, just as our founders imagined almost 80 years ago.”
Today’s announcement is not the first promise of a new direction by the HFPA. In fact, it is not even the first such declaration this year. A trio of the group’s brass took to the stage at the semi-virtual Globes swearing they would address the lack of Black members and more, if we just trusted them. Then in early March, the Sunshine Sachs repped HFPA posted a long statement on social media unveiling the hiring of Dr. Shaun Harper the executive director of USC Race and Equity Center as their “Strategic Diversity Advisor for the next five years” and more.
Neither efforts picked up much steam, though some powerful partners are clearly hoping things will work out better this time round.
Comcast-owned NBC, which pays the HFPA about $60 million a year to broadcast the influential Globes, and ceremony producers dick clark productions, who successfully fought off a court battle with the HFPA several years ago, both today offered support to the so-called reimagining – after what I hear has been weeks trying to nudge the group’s head out of the sand:
“HFPA’s proposed plan is an encouraging step in the right direction,” a NBCUniversal spokesperson told Deadline this afternoon in the first of a series of obviously coordinated responses. “It outlines the thorough reforms that are critical for our continued relationship, and we appreciate the commitment that it demonstrates by the association’s leadership,” NBCU added. “The organization’s swift adoption and meaningful execution of the plan in its entirety are essential for the Golden Globes to remain on NBC.”
“We are encouraged by the detailed and thorough nature of the plan unveiled today by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” dcp chimed in. “We are hopeful the members commit to this and the actions necessary to build a transparent and inclusive future, which will have a tremendous impact on the organization and the art they honor.”
Still, with whatever is to come next, it is going to a steep climb for the HFPA to get back in Tinseltown’s good-ish graces. In just the past few months, the insular organization has having been rocked by revelations of the lack of any Black members, offensive and politically tone deaf emails from a former president, and the resignation last month of both their much hyped and short lived diversity consultant and Judy Smith, the miracle working fixer who inspired Scandal.
Presuming the extremely well-compensated HFPA know the difference between their Claret and their Beaujolais, the international assembly does seem to have a talent from leaving a bad taste in the mouth of others. From NBC and dcp, to TimesUp most of Hollywood’s top PR gurus, Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya, and Oscar nominee Leslie Odom Jr, to name just a few of late, the HFPA have obstinately nearly bitten off the hands that literally feed them.
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