A group of more than 100 Hollywood publicists have pledged to continue boycotting the Hollywood Foreign Press Association despite the recent proposed reforms to revamp the embattled organization.
The move comes after Time’s Up denounced the HFPA’s proposed reforms on Friday, calling the ideas “sorely lacking and hardly transformational.”
In a statement released Friday, the group of Hollywood publicists said, “We will continue to refrain from any HFPA sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are illuminated in detail with a firm commitment to a timeline that respects the looming 2022 season reality.”
“We stand ready to collaborate with the HFPA to ensure that the next Golden Globes — be it in 2022 or 2023 — represents the values of our creative community,” the group added.
On Thursday, the HFPA overwhelming approved a set of sweeping reforms. In the voice vote held over Zoom, 74 of the 87 members voted to approve a proposal that would increase its membership by 50% in the next 18 months, appoint professional executive leadership and hold new board elections this fall. Three members voted no, four voted to abstain and eight were absent, according to a knowledgeable individual.
Earlier this week, the HFPA pledged to increase membership by 50%, hold new board elections and hire professional executive leadership. The board asked for members to approve the new reforms; otherwise it would “take more serious measures, including but not limited to the Board resigning, if the membership does not timely approve and implement the below reforms.”
The HFPA has been under fire in recent months over its lack of any Black members — as well as its track record of snubbing movies and TV shows with Black creators — and deep corruption that drew backlash from the Hollywood community, prompting Time’s Up to demand an overhaul of the organization. In response to the backlash, the group hired a diversity consultant, USC professor Shaun Harper, to address “systemic” issues. But following a meeting with Time’s Up, Harper quit after he was confronted with the details of the HFPA’s problems. In addition, former HFPA president Philip Berk was expelled last month after sending an email to members with a post describing Black Lives Matter as a “hate movement.” The HFPA said it would announce a set of reforms by May 6. See the full list of reforms here.
Read the full statement from the publicists below:
We acknowledge the HFPA for defining the five foundational pillars – Accountability, Membership, Inclusion, Good Governance/Ethics and Transparency – it must examine, interrogate and reform in order for the HFPA to manifest the transformative change necessary to thrive as an ethical, credible and respected institution in our industry.
We have specific concerns about the timeline for change as the traditional 2022 awards calendar approaches, lest we face another Golden Globes awards cycle and show under the existing problematic HFPA structure. The proposed September 1st deadline for hiring a Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer with no mention of a deadline for hiring the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Financial Officer makes it impossible for necessary changes to happen in time to impact the 2022 Golden Globes cycle. In addition there has been no mention of the status of the HFPA’s General Counsel nor of the obvious need for a Chief Operating Officer. Lastly and more historically evidentiary, talent and content creators of color will not get a fair chance under this timeline.
There must be transparency about all recruitment processes and hiring decisions and the onboarding of these vital individuals must be completed well before the next HFPA season begins.
Unless the Globes are to be delayed until 2023, the vetting and approval of all plan specifics and implementation guidelines, along with the seating of a new Board under new bylaws, must be accomplished without delay. This requires an explanation of the process to welcome non-HFPA members to serve on the Board and a full understanding of the drafting, oversight and vetting process of new bylaws.
Similarly, membership goals and representation must be achieved more swiftly, so that new members do not remain in the minority for another year.
We will continue to refrain from any HFPA sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are illuminated in detail with a firm commitment to a timeline that respects the looming 2022 season reality. We stand ready to collaborate with the HFPA to ensure that the next Golden Globes – be it in 2022 or 2023 – represents the values of our creative community.
We are reminded of the HFPA’s 1943 motto, conceived by the original group of foreign journalists: “Unity Without Discrimination of Religion or Race”. Seventy-eight years hence, your commitment to swift and deliberate action remains essential.