Phil Berk, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, denied on Saturday that he demanded a commission from NBC for having brought them an advertiser for the Golden Globes.
"Phil Berk did not and has never solicited any funds for personal gain from NBC," said the HFPA in a statement issued to TheWrap.
"As owners of the show, the HFPA naturally profits from all financial gains. In the case of the Chrysler deal, Berk brought the show sponsorship to NBC who did in fact pay a fee which DCP and HFPA split per their contract."
In a lawsuit filed by former Globes publicist Michael Russell, Berk was accused of "despicable behavior" and demanding kickbacks for personal gain.
Specifically, the suit alleges that Berk has sought kickbacks from sponsors, even calling NBC – which airs the Globes telecast – to demand he be given a commission for a $2 million ad buy by Chrysler.
Berk’s desire for personal gain “is evidenced by a phone call from Berk to NBC marketing in New York, demanding that Berk be paid a commission for referring Chrysler to NBC (who had paid DCP a $2,000,000 advertising fee for the promotion with Chrysler as part of the Golden Globes after-show), and that Chrysler provide him with a car and driver for the month of January 2010,” the lawsuit alleges.“These requests were denied.”
The lawsuit further alleges that Berk sought to cut Russell out of a deal in which Chrysler acted as a charitable sponsor, and that Berk has repeatedly rebuffed Russell’s attempts to encourage the group to clean up corrupt practices.
NBC has repeatedly declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The Golden Globes air on NBC on Sunday night.