Golden Globes Group Suspends Member Accused of Extorting Tickets From Prospective Voter (Exclusive)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has suspended Nellee Holmes after she demanded that an applicant hand over her tickets to the awards

Last Updated: August 24, 2015 @ 3:24 PM

The organization that owns the Golden Globes has suspended many of the privileges of voting member Nellee Holmes after she was accused of attempting to extort tickets and a non-compete pledge from a prospective member, multiple members of the group told TheWrap.

The punishment will take Holmes out of the mix during the Golden Globe Awards voting season. Fewer than 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association members cast ballots for the annual awards, making every Globe vote significant and ensuring that participation is an important and valuable perk for members who are routinely wined, dined and feted by studios.

A spokesman for the HFPA said he was unable to reach organization officials for comment on a Sunday.

After Ukrainian journalist Lena Basse was proposed for membership by two Scandinavian HFPA members, Aud Berggren Morisse and Magnus Sundholm, Russian member Holmes apparently demanded that Basse promise in writing not to write for a number of outlets, most of them Russian.

TheWrap has obtained an email from Basse in which she made this promise, and also promised to relinquish her extra Golden Globe and premiere tickets.

When Holmes demanded that Basse deliver a notarized letter making the same guarantees, Basse instead turned Holmes’ demands (on which one HFPA board member was allegedly copied) over to the HFPA office, where then-president Theo Kingma demanded action against Holmes.

The membership voted to bar Holmes from HFPA travel, suspend her voting privileges and block her from attending next January’s Golden Globes, though she will still be allowed to attend membership meetings and participate in HFPA screenings and junkets that take place in Los Angeles. Members told TheWrap that Holmes tried to negotiate a three-month penalty that would have restored her full privileges before the Globes, but she was rebuffed.

A substantial majority of voters opted for the longer term, the members told TheWrap. “It’s shameful that some people didn’t want to do anything,” said one member who asked not to be identified.

The organization has weathered constant internal squabbles and many embarrassing public episodes over the years, including the suspension of former HFPA President Phil Berk who maligned fellow members in a self-published autobiography.

Basse, incidentally, was not one of the three new members admitted to the HFPA this year, though it appears likely that she will be put up for membership again next year.

Neither Holmes nor Basse could immediately be reached for comment.