Some 70 Hollywood public relations firms are organizing a mass action against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, warning that if the group behind the Golden Globes does not diversify, their celebrity clients will be off-limits to the group until at least May 6, TheWrap has learned.
About 10 leading PR firms are leading the charge, but did not want to be identified before a letter is sent to the HFPA on Tuesday, two individuals involved in the mass action said. The individuals said that 70 PR and communication agencies worldwide have signed on to the action, with more joining every day.
The May 6 date coincides with when the HFPA said it would deliver a detailed action plan to diversify its ranks and address issues of alleged corruption inside the organization. Until that date, the insider told TheWrap, Hollywood stars from major PR agencies will not be participating in HFPA press conferences.
For example, the Marvel blockbuster “Black Widow” comes out on May 7, starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and others. Under this action, the stars would not be available for a press conference.
The threatened blackout could be devastating to the HFPA, whose members make their living writing articles from press conferences and movie junkets with Hollywood stars. The proposed blackout comes as a new, post-COVID movie season is on the horizon, even as the HFPA has vowed to make immediate changes to its membership in the wake of the revelation that it has no Black members.
The HFPA could not immediately be reached for comment.
Among the participating PR companies are ID, Viewpoint, The Lede Company, True Public Relations, R&C-PMK, Shelter PR, Relevant, Kovert Creative, Narrative, ImPRint, Slate PR, Independent Public Relations, Wolf Kasteler Public Relations and many others, as first reported by Variety.
Notably not on the list is Sunshine Sachs, which represents the HFPA, but also has many high-profile actor clients. The insider said that clients of the other PR firms have been informed of the plan.
Recent reports have noted that the 87-member group doesn’t have any Black members, despite the push for diversity in Hollywood since the #OscarsSoWhite campaign launched in 2015. As far back as 2013, TheWrap reported that a Black applicant from the U.K. was rejected by an overwhelming vote. However, observers say the recent Black Lives Matter movement has made the focus on the lack of Black members impossible to ignore in 2021.
Just days before last month’s ceremony, the Time’s Up organization launched a #TimesUpGlobes protest campaign over the group’s lack of diversity. Hollywood influencers like Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow and Shonda Rhimes joined in posting statements calling on the organization to make a commitment to diversify.
During the Golden Globes earlier this month, HFPA member Helen Hoehne said on stage, “Tonight, while we celebrate the work of artists from around the globe, we recognize that we have our own work to do. Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.”
HFPA president Ali Sar added, “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.”
The HFPA’s membership is majority female, and only 35% of its members are from non-European countries around the world.