The Hollywood Foreign Press Association directly addressed criticism due to having no Black members during Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony, acknowledging that when it comes to representation, changes must be made.
Three HFPA members took the stage with a short message.
“We recognize we have our own work to do,” Helen Hoehne, HFPA Vice President, said. “Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.”
Board chair and ex-president Meher Tatna noted, “We must also ensure that everyone, from all underrepresented communities, gets a seat at our table and we are going to make that happen.”
President Ali Sar concluded, “That means creating an environment where diverse membership is the norm, not the exception. Thank you and we look forward to a more inclusive future.”
Meanwhile, the HFPA has vowed to “bring in Black members” following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times. A portion of the Times investigation brought awareness to the fact that the HFPA’s 87-member group of international journalists currently has no Black members. The Globes previously received criticism for not including any Black-led contenders, like “One Night in Miami”, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, “Da 5 Bloods” or “Judas and the Black Messiah”, in the Best Picture category. Ahead of the 2021 Golden Globes on Sunday, the HFPA released a statement to the press on Friday.
“We are fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, TV and the artists inspiring and educating them,” the statement read. “We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.”
Time’s Up President and CEO Tina Tchen has since sent a letter to the HFPA’s Tatna, Sar and Hoehne.
She said, according to Deadline, “The HFPA’s statements tonight and over the last several days indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the depth of the problems at hand. Your stated version of change is cosmetic – find Black people. That is not a solution.”
She continued: “The problems with the HFPA cannot be addressed simply by a search for new members who meet your self-declared membership criteria. That criteria reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of the problems at hand.
“Change only occurs from an awareness of larger cultural problems, as well as a long-term commitment to systemic change. The membership of a small, exclusive private association would generally not merit such broad concern. However, it is unquestionable that HFPA’s award show has an outsized impact on the entertainment industry and by extension our overall culture.”
Tchen also wrote in a letter to NBCUniversal, which aired the ceremony, “Much of the credibility of the Golden Globes is drawn from its affiliation with your network. NBCUniversal has a reputational interest in fixing these issues. To do so is consistent with your Chairman Brian Roberts’ commitment that the ‘company will try to play an integral role in driving lasting reform.’ As leaders of NBCUniversal television, your power as stakeholders makes you an effective force of change.
“We recognize the significance of the Golden Globes to the awards season, but a claim to significant real estate is not an exemption from a lack of obligation to the ethical standards that the industry is embracing. To the contrary, it is your obligation. We urge NBCUniversal to lead this effort. We at Time’s Up stand ready to work for real change. The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act.”
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