The Hollywood Foreign Press Association moved on Monday to throw out a Norwegian reporter’s lawsuit, arguing that she has not been harmed by being denied admission to the organization.
Kjersti Flaa filed the complaint on Aug. 3, alleging that HFPA members use their clout to monopolize entertainment coverage in foreign territories. She alleged that she had been repeatedly denied membership because two members feared she would compete with them for freelance assignments in Norway and Denmark.
The 87 HPFA members are best known for voting on the Golden Globe Awards, which gives them access to stars during awards season.
In its motion to dismiss the suit, the HFPA argues that Flaa has had a successful career as an entertainment journalist without being a member.
“Yes, membership in the HFPA conveys reputational and other benefits upon its members,” the organization argues. “But Flaa loudly proclaims that reporters like her have had substantial success without becoming HFPA members. These proclamations confirm that the HFPA can in no way control the output of reporting of ‘entertainment news.'”
The HFPA also accuses Flaa of a “multi-year campaign of bullying and harassment” against the members who she alleges have blocked her admission. The motion accuses Flaa of ageism and a “history of racist remarks.” The latter is a reference to a 2018 interview Flaa did with Claudia Kim during the press tour for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” Flaa appeared surprised that Kim, who is South Korean, had read the “Harry Potter” books as a child in English. Flaa later apologized.
The HFPA also took issue with Flaa’s contention that HPFA president Lorenzo Soria, who died on Aug. 7, had “attempted to protect the HFPA’s corrupt and unlawful practices by enforcing its implied oath of omertà.” The HFPA argued that was a “not-so-veiled swipe at his Italian heritage.”
David Quinto, Flaa’s attorney, previously told Variety that he is seeking an order to remove all subjective criteria from the HFPA’s membership process.
But the organization argues that she has no grounds to seek a court order, rewriting the HPFA’s bylaws. The HFPA accused Flaa of filing a “salacious and inflammatory complaint” in order “to garner publicity, intimidate HFPA members into voting her into the membership, and publicly shame members who did not blindly support her membership application.”
Flaa told Variety in August that she is hoping to transform the body into a more professional organization.
“I think sometimes things won’t change from the inside,” she said. “Maybe they just need a little push from the outside to change.”
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