The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has laid out plans to remedy its diversity problem following backlash it received earlier this year when it was revealed the organization didn’t have a single Black member.
“We at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are committed to transformational change. Effective immediately, the Board – in consultation with outside advisors – will oversee reforms and be accountable for the change,” the Golden Globes organization said in a release posted Saturday on Instagram.
“Our mission as a diverse group of journalists from more than 40 different countries has always been about covering entertainment and film, advancing the critical work of entertainment-related charities, and elevating future film and television professionals from all walks of like unified by their shared passion and love for film and television,” it continued.
“But we must and will do more. These are the initial steps we will take over the next 60 days and we will carry out further action based on the recommendations that come from these initial reviews and assessments. We are committed to achieving these objectives in our organization and build a more inclusive community.”
Tina Tchen, president and CEO of Time’s Up Foundation, says she’s “not so sure” the organization will make good on its promise to fix its “racism, disrespect, misogyny” problem and warns, “the clock is ticking.”
“So NBCUniversal, Dick Clark Productions, and the HFPA just declared that they have a plan to fix problems they’ve ignored for decades. We’re not so sure,” Tchen said in a statement. “On behalf of the many artists who look to us to hold the HFPA’s feet to the fire on the racism, disrespect, misogyny, and alleged corrupt financial dealings of the Golden Globes, we need to see specific details, timetables for change, and firm commitments. The right words are not enough. The clock is ticking.”
Among the immediate actions the HFPA said are in the works are:
• Hiring an independent expert in organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion to advise and guide us. Among other important tasks, this expert will audit our bylaws and membership requirements to help us guard against any exclusionary practices and achieve a more diverse membership. We are also mandating annual anti-racism and unconscious bias education and sexual harassment training for every member of the HFPA.
• Engaging in outreach with a specific focus on adding Black and other underrepresented professionals to our organization.
• Hiring a third-party, independent law firm to review the HFPA policies to ensure we are aligned with and exceed industry best practices in other critical areas.
• Working with that law firm to ensure a robust process by which any individuals (members, partners, vendors, and artists) can confidentially report any potential violation of our ethical standards or code of conduct with the confidence that it will be fully and fairly investigated and will have clear and serious consequences for those in violation.
• Improving our efforts to create transparency into our operations, voting, process, eligibility, and membership.
• Increasing our support of internship, mentorship, and scholarship programs for Black and other underrepresented students interested in international journalism.
The proclamation comes following recent reports by the Los Angeles Times and New York Times noting that the 87-member group doesn’t have a single Black member. In addition, the Time’s Up organization launched a #TimesUpGlobes protest campaign over the lack of diversity.
During the Golden Globes ceremony on Feb. 28, the jokes started out early, with co-host Tina Fey blasting the HFPA’s “around 90 international no black journalists.” Amy Poehler then added, “We say around 90 because a couple of them might be ghosts.” Many actors — including Jane Fonda, Sacha Baron Cohen and Dan Levy — followed suit with comments during the presenting of or acceptances of awards.
HFPA’s membership is majority female, and more than 35% of its members are from non-European countries around the world.