A group of 14 Los Angeles-based entertainment journalists, many of whom say they have previously been rejected for membership by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are calling on the HFPA to stop blocking qualified journalists from joining.
The 14 journalists are offering up their services as a way for the HFPA to demonstrate its commitment to change, and they’re calling on the Golden Globes organization to admit all of them in order to meet its diversity goals.
“Our only intention is to work as journalists and serve our creative community by continuing to be transparent and hardworking in our field,” the group of 14 wrote in a statement on Instagram. “So, let us be your first step towards reforming the Golden Globes and earning back your credibility in the industry and the public eye.”
Signers of the open letter include Norwegian reporter Kjersti Flaa, who is suing the HFPA for refusing her membership in a pending case, and Black journalist Samantha Ofole-Prince, who TheWrap reported in 2013 was denied membership to the HFPA.
The letter claims that some of the writers have been denied membership due to “vicious smear campaigns” and competition from other members, or have “been too intimidated to endure the HFPA’s ‘Hunger Games’ style application process.” However, they claim they all meet the HFPA’s criteria for membership, with some boasting over 30 years of entertainment reporting experience and hailing from several different countries.
The HFPA recently announced it would expand to 100 members, with at least 13 Black members. Currently, the group is comprised of 87 members, none of whom are Black. The group’s outside legal counsel has begun to implement changes, the HFPA’s board said, “including a comprehensive review of our governance and code of conduct.” The board has also begun to meet with advocacy groups to gather opinions on any additional reform that needs to take place.
In their letter, the journalists said those HFPA statements are a “good start,” but are not nearly enough.
“We’re giving you the opportunity to show that you are serious about your ‘transformational reform,” they wrote.
Read the full open letter to the HFPA here.
For the record: A previous version of this story said that Flaa had “previously sued” the HFPA. The lawsuit is ongoing.