A group of more than 100 Hollywood publicity firms say they are concerned about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s recently released plans to overhaul the ogranization.
In a 70-3 vote on Thursday, the HFPA members approved a plan put forth by its board to radically overhaul the non-profit. The plan includes measures to increase the number of people of color in its ranks. The plan also includes new restrictions on gifts that the members could receive and payments for work on their committees.
Immediate plans include finding a vendor to set up a complaint line, hiring a search firm to compile a list of candidates to fill newly formed staff positions, identifying new members to increase membership by 50% in the next 18 months, creating a list of DEI consultants and retaining Ropes & Gray to facilitate the reforms.
The publicist group sent a letter to the HFPA on March 15 warning that that they have advised clients not to work with them unless the organization committed to serious reform.
“We call on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association 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 endemic to the HFPA, funded by Dick Clark Productions, MRC, NBCUniversal and Comcast,” the letter read.
The HFPA has long come under scrutiny for many of its practices. A Los Angeles Times report in February detailed and questioned the non-profit group compensation practices for the members involved in awards judging and other association functions. The HFPA for years has been routinely criticizing for taking part in lavish junkets and accepting other perks from studios and networks in the hunt for Golden Globe trophies.
Time’s Up Foundation president and CEO Tina Chen also responded to the proposed reforms, saying in a statement, “Sadly, the list of ‘reforms’ adopted yesterday, and endorsed by NBCUniversal and Dick Clark Productions, are sorely lacking and hardly transformational. Instead, these measures ensure that the current membership of the HFPA will remain in the majority and that the next Golden Globes will be decided with the same fundamental problems that have existed for years.
“The HFPA’s list of recommendations largely contains no specifics, no commitments to real accountability or change, and no real timeline to implement these changes. The HFPA’s proposed September 1 deadline for some — but not all — reforms come well after the next award cycle will have started. And even its proposal to increase membership by 50% comes with no commitments that the decisions to admit new members will be made in an equitable and inclusive manner with full transparency and oversight.
“Even more striking is the complete silence from the HFPA about reforms to the deeply-troubled nominations and awards process. This includes the absence of any commitment to ensure that the Golden Globes awards and categories are free from discriminatory criteria, that the practice of unprofessional, exclusive press conferences will end, or that voting members will perform the basic function of watching the nominated projects.
“The window-dressing platitudes adopted yesterday are neither transformation that was promised nor what our creative community deserves. Any organization or sponsors that set themselves up to pass judgment on our vibrant community of creators and talent must do better,” said the Time’s Up statement.
Read the full statement from the publicists below:
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