Netflix blasts Golden Globes in response to too-slow HFPA reforms

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Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos awkwardly try to share Dern’s Marriage Story Golden Globe in 2020.
Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos awkwardly try to share Dern’s Marriage Story Golden Globe in 2020.

Netflix took a major swing at the Golden Globes—and its organizing body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—this week, with co-CEO Ted Sarandos penning a letter stating that the streamer is “stopping any activities with your organization” until the HFPA makes sweeping systemic changes. The HFPA has been heavily criticized in recent years for its near-total lack of diversity, with a Los Angeles Times story printed earlier this year revealing that, of the 87 journalists who make up the body, literally zero are Black. And, pointedly, Sarandos’ letter was sent after the HFPA passed reform measures in a meeting yesterday, measures that were designed to address some of those issues and expand its roster. Although acknowledging that vote as an “important first step,” Sarandos also dubbed the package, and specifically the commitment to grow the organization by 50 percent over the next 18 months, unacceptable in terms of speed and scope.

In refusing to accept the approved reforms as sufficient, Netflix joins Times Up and a coalition of industry PR firms, all of which have expressed their dissatisfactions with the proposed solutions. (This, even as the HFPA and its broadcast partners NBC and Dick Clark Productions all issued statements praising and endorsing the vote and reform package this week.) Among other things, Sarandos—per THR—expressed frustration that the HFPA’s reform vote wasn’t unanimous, with roughly 10 percent of the membership voting against or abstaining. “We know that you have many well-intentioned members who want real change,” Sarandos wrote. “And that all of us have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry. But 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.”

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Netflix is clearly looking to leverage a bit of its hard-won industry power here; it’s not for nothing that the streamer was the most-nominated company at this year’s Globes, receiving 42 nominations and 10 wins at the February festivities. A full boycott of next year’s ceremony (and all its attendant press conferences, parties, etc.) would be a pretty major ding to the events’ relevancy and talent pool, especially if more networks and studios decide to follow in the streamer’s wake. Netflix has yet to issue any specific calls for the reforms it would like to see the HFPA make (aside from a larger and faster expansion of its insular ranks), but, per Deadline—which originally broke this story—the company is apparently calling for the HFPA to adopt a set of codified standards for its nomination, campaigning, and award processes, rather than the nebulous, oft-criticized “system” currently in place.

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