On Monday, American network NBC announced it would be cancelling its broadcast of next year’s Golden Globes.
The decision was made after months of backlash over claims of systemic racism, sexism, bullying and corruption among members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), with NBC reporting they were not satisfied the organisation had made effective plans to address the issues.
In a public statement, NBC expressed that they “…continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.”
Ninety journalists associated with HFPA are involved in the voting for Hollywood’s second-biggest annual film and television awards. The reforms that were proposed included boosting membership by 50 percent in the next 18 months, adding more Black journalists, hiring diversity consultants, and ending strict limits on who gets admitted. These reforms were voted down by three current HFPA members.
This latest public announcement is a fatal blow to the awards and the organisation itself, since it relies heavily on the Globes’ television rights for its funding. NBC has been the awards’ longstanding broadcaster for many years — the first ceremony took place in January, 1944.
Hollywood superstars including Scarlett Johansson, Tom Cruise and Mark Ruffalo have come out to criticise the HFPA’s record on diversity and transparency.
Johansson released a statement provided to the Hollywood Reporter, saying that “…as an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows.”
“The HFPA is an organisation that was legitimised by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition, and the industry followed suit.
“Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organisation, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole.”
Ruffalo recently said he “cannot feel proud or happy” about winning a recent Golden Globe from a group with a “culture of secrecy and exclusion” and which “resists the change that is being asked from them.”
The development comes days after Netflix and Amazon Studios said they would not work with the HFPA until more “meaningful” and “significant” changes were made.
Warner Media said they will not provide actors to speak at HFPA-only press conferences or invite HFPA members to attend exclusive industry events until meaningful changes are made.
“We are keenly aware of how much harder we’ve had to lobby to secure press conferences for a number of Black performers and creators, representing unquestionably worthy content,” they expressed in a letter shared with entertainment, Hollywood and media news website, Deadline.
“While we commend the HFPA membership’s approval of the plan to move towards radical reform, we don’t believe the plan goes far enough in addressing the breadth of our concerns, nor does your timeline capture the immediate need by which these issues should be addressed.”
“We regret that as an industry, we have complained, but largely tolerated this behaviour until now.”
In response, the HFPA issued a timeline that lays out its planned reforms, adding that systemic reform “is long overdue, both in our organisation as well as within the industry at large.”