Battle lines over the Golden Globes were clearly drawn on Friday as a rival to Hollywood Foreign Press Association leadership took aim at interim CEO Todd Boehly, accusing him of self-dealing in deciding the future of the group while offering a proposal to buy its assets.
In a letter to HFPA members obtained by TheWrap, Yusef Jackson – an investor and son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson – joined with former motion picture academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs to ask how Boehly could run the process of reforming the HFPA while also deciding on his own proposal to turn the association into a for-profit group.
After meeting with HFPA President Helen Hoehne and a group of other association leaders on Friday, Jackson wrote to the members: “We asked for a clear understanding of the business proposal submission process, who would make the final partnership decision and whether Todd Boehly will serve as interim CEO of HFPA, an independent bidder, or both during the selection process.”
The letter continued: “From our call it’s clear there is NO process and under the new bylaws, a small, select group, NOT the members, have all the power and control to determine the future of HFPA.”
The letter served as a clear shot across the bow at Boehly’s proposal to end the HFPA’s non-profit status and essentially buy out the current 102 members, making them profit participants in the lucrative Golden Globes telecast. The intention would be to expand the voting pool by another 200 voters, while not conferring membership status on those new voters, according to TheWrap’s reporting.
The letter criticized this to the members as looking to “cozy up and offer to buy you out…for nothing, with a 3-year termination,” a reference to Boehly’s proposal.
Jackson and Boone Isaacs are offering an alternative, and reached out to individual HFPA members earlier this week to explain their plan. Although it has not been detailed, the letter sent to members referred to offering members a role “as equity participants in PCE, so that we take risks and build value together.” This plan would also create an “endowment fund to support the efforts of the Hollywood foreign correspondents well into the future.”
According to the letter, Boone Isaacs and Jackson would take over the Golden Globes for two consecutive 10-year terms, ”after which the rights revert back to you, the members and the HFPA.”
It is unclear how much traction this proposal has among the HFPA members.
Critics say that Boehly has a clear conflict of interest in his role as interim CEO, since he also owns the production company that produces the Golden Globes telecast, MRC, which takes half of the $60 million licensing fee from NBC. Boehly denies having a conflict of interest.
TheWrap previously reported on this issue late last year, along with reporting in December that Boehly planned to take the HFPA private. That reporting was confirmed when Boehly presented just such a plan to the members earlier this month.
NBC cancelled this year’s Globes telecast after numerous reports of corruption, self-dealing and a lack of diversity in the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the group has been in a spiraling crisis ever since, without a solution emerging.
A spokesman for the HFPA did not respond immediately to a request for comment.