Golden Globes group unveils reforms for diversity crisis, board threatens resignation if not approved

·3 min read

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has laid out a reform plan to address fundamental issues including a glaring lack of racial diversity in the group that hosts NBC's annual Golden Globe awards show.

The HFPA board, representing a group of fewer than 90 journalists, said in a letter sent Monday that it wants to admit 20 new members in 2021, with a specific focus on recruiting Black members — and a stated goal of increasing the membership by 50% in the next 18 months.

"We will continue to reassess further increases to the membership with a specific focus on recruiting Black members and members from other underrepresented groups in each class," the letter, obtained by USA TODAY, states.

After the reforms were announced, reports emerged that both Netflix and Amazon Studios would be breaking ties with the association until "more meaningful changes are made."

According to the The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke released a statement saying Amazon's cooperation with the organization also has been halted.

"We have not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward," the statement read.

"We’re stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made,” Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos wrote to HFPA leadership, according to Deadline. "Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”

USA TODAY has reached out to Netflix and Amazon Studios for comment.

According to Deadline, HFPA responded to Sarandos in a letter obtained Friday:

"We have always valued our relationship with Netflix as we seek to bring news about motion pictures and television to the world," HFPA president Ali Sar wrote, according to Deadline. "We hear your concerns about the changes our association needs to make and want to assure you that we are working diligently on all of them."

The proposed changes come in the wake of crisis following a February Los Angeles Times investigation into the secretive organization that determined there were no Black members amid the 87 members, and had not been one since 1987.

Time's Up calls out HFPA: Zero Black HFPA members voting on Golden Globes; stars join protest

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The advocacy group Time's Up launched the #TIMESUPGlobes hashtag ahead of this year's show along with a graphic that read, "Hollywood Foreign Press Association: Not a Single Black Member Out of 87."

Wide-ranging changes proposed in the letter will be voted on in undisclosed future meetings. The board said that if the organization does not accept and implement the reforms in a "timely manner" it could "take more serious measures," including the board resigning in protest.

The letter called to immediately establish an oversight board "consisting of racially and ethnically diverse members" who will advise the board and oversee organizational reform.

"These past few months have been difficult for us all," the letter states. "We have engaged in much needed, deep introspection with the help and guidance of our outside advisors, experts in diversity and inclusion, and our media partners. Together, we have created a roadmap for transformational change in our organization."

Other changes listed in the letter aim to quell long-standing criticism of HFPA membership perks from studios potentially seeking to affect key Golden Globe votes.

A Los Angeles Times investigation from February revealed that 30 HFPA members took part in a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel, paid for by Paramount Network, to promote the Netflix series "Emily in Paris."

The series then shocked with two surprise Globe nominations despite mixed critical reviews.

The HFPA board letter called to "review structure of press travel," to "no longer accept promotional items" and to "strengthen conflict of interest disclosures."

Contributing: Elise Brisco

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Golden Globes: HFPA reveals reforms to address diversity crisis

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