After a week of sharp criticisms, Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Ali Sar addressed the lack of diversity in the organization’s membership and vowed to enact change, promising a “more inclusive future” during Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony.
“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,” Sar said onstage alongside two other HFPA members, Helen Hoehne and Meher Tatna.
“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,” Hoehne said.
Tatna added, “We must also ensure everyone from all underrepresented communities get a seat at our table, and we’re going to make it happen.”
The backlash against the HFPA began last Sunday with a Los Angeles Times report examining the group’s finances, including paying millions to members who already receive lavish trips from studios looking for Golden Globe nominations. Such payments have raised eyebrows from tax experts who have questioned whether they are in violation of the HFPA’s tax-exempt status.
The criticism escalated as Black filmmakers and stars like Ava DuVernay and Viola Davis zeroed in on a section of the Times’ report that noted that none of the HFPA’s 87 members are Black, despite the push for diversity in Hollywood since the #OscarsSoWhite campaign launched in 2015. At the same time, Black-led films like “Da 5 Bloods,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “One Night in Miami” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” were snubbed from the Best Picture – Drama category at this year’s Golden Globes.
“The journey of a Black artist is littered with obstacles in creating, developing and being acknowledged for our work,” Davis, who was nominated this year for her performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, “said in an Instagram post. “If we continue to keep silent, the younger generation of artists will have the exact same load to carry. No more excuses.”
Actors like Sterling K. Brown, Amber Tamblyn and Jane Fonda have joined in on the demands for diversity, as have organizations like the Directors Guild of America, Time’s Up and Color of Change. “A cosmetic fix isn’t enough,” declared a Time’s Up social media post that has been shared by dozens of actors including Davis, Kerry Washington, Jurnee Smollett and Laura Dern.
Additionally, groups like GLAAD have called for the HFPA to respond to the calls for diversity by expanding representation in all categories and adding female, POC and LGBTQ members to its ranks.
“Though data for LGBTQ members of the HFPA has not been released, we encourage and implore the HFPA to address these loud calls for change in an intersectional way by including LGBTQ and other diverse communities,” GLAAD said in a statement released hours before Sunday’s Golden Globes. “Representation matters. Accountability matters. Moving forward, the HFPA must make substantial and transparent changes to ensure that all diverse voices are represented and celebrated amongst its membership and nominees.”