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HFPA Members Approve New Ethics Code

Golden Globes group also signs contract to set up hotline for people to report misconduct by the HFPA

Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that hands out the Golden Globes every year, on Thursday night approved a new Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct “setting forth the values, expectations, and standards” of the organization.

The group, which has been under fire in recent months due to a lack of Black members and corruption, re-committed to diversifying the group, being transparent and accountable, and upholding” the highest standards of professionalism” by promoting a welcoming culture, maintaining mutual respect for all members and upholding communication with members and the public.

“We have been troubled by reports that certain members have engaged in unacceptable behavior in the past, and we are deeply committed to ensuring that it does not happen again and that interactions with the HFPA and its members embody mutual respect.  Our new code of conduct, and the policies that will be released in coming weeks, are designed to achieve that fundamental and necessary objective,” the Board of the HFPA said in a statement. “As we progress through our timeline, we want to reiterate that these are just the first steps in our process towards transformational reform. We are continuing to seek guidance from our partners, outside advocacy groups, and experts in the industry.”

On Wednesday, the group also signed a contract with Convercent, which will set up a hotline allowing anyone, whether a member of the organization or not, to report complaints of misconduct by the HFPA.

“As we’ve said before, we are dedicated to transformational reform and are implementing changes as quickly as possible without sacrificing the integrity of the process,” the Board added. “In the spirit of transparency and accountability, we intend to regularly update the industry and the public on our progress with our timeline, with more details to come in the coming weeks. 

The HFPA has recently been criticized 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. On May 3, the group issued a “reimagination” of the organization, pledging to increase membership by 50%, hold new board elections and hire professional executive leadership.

However, the new reforms were slammed by organization’s like Time’s Up and GLAAD for not going far enough in fixing the HFPA’s inherent issues, and NBC, the HFPA’s broadcasting partner, decided not to air the 2022 Golden Globes awards show.

On Thursday, TheWrap reported that amid the crisis engulfing the HFPA, members were renewing calls for board members to resign over its handling of the firestorm, while also suggesting the organization to sue its attorneys.

You can see the new Code below.

Approved by Members 05/20/21 

HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION 

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL AND ETHICAL CONDUCT 

This Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct (the “Code”) sets forth the values, expectations,  and standards of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the “HFPA” or “Association”) that are  essential to achieving our shared mission and goals. Members of the Association must accept and  adhere to this Code, and as members, we all have an obligation to maintain and promote  professional and ethical conduct. The HFPA, therefore, will strictly enforce this Code. 

Who We Are  

The HFPA is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(6) organization of entertainment journalists who  report for international outlets. In 1943, the founding consortium of Los-Angeles based journalists  banded together to gain traction in a film industry that, at that time, had not yet realized the  importance of international markets and international journalists. Today, we carry forward this  founding mission by promoting the importance of film and television in international markets.  

Our Mission  

The HFPA is committed to furthering the common business interests of entertainment journalists  working for international outlets by promoting interest in entertainment media and establishing  and maintaining favorable relations and cultural ties between the United States and foreign nations  through cinema, television, and other audio and visual recordings. Our member-journalists  disseminate information around the world about the cultures, traditions, and experiences in the  United States and likewise disseminate information within the United States about foreign cultures,  traditions, and experiences.  

The HFPA promotes interest in the study of the arts, including specifically by promoting the development of the art forms of motion picture; television; dramatic, musical, and comedy theatre;  and audio and visual recording. As part of this effort, the HFPA recognizes outstanding  achievement in the arts by conferring annual Awards of Merit, the Golden Globes. The HFPA is  also dedicated to philanthropic efforts, which include contributing to non-profits and educational  institutions; helping restore historical films; promoting the study of journalism and the arts through  scholarship programs; and supporting internship, mentorship, and scholarship programs for  underrepresented and otherwise disadvantaged students interested in journalism and the arts.  

Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion  

Our Association was founded under the motto, “Unity Without Discrimination of Religion or  Race.” Our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion, therefore, stems from the founding of  our Association, and this Code of Conduct serves to reinforce, expand, and renew that  commitment. We must act with intention to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion not only  among our members and within our Association, but we must become leaders within our  journalistic and entertainment communities so that we encourage and celebrate the authentic,  varied voices, experiences, and viewpoints of those behind and in front of the screen. We will establish and maintain an environment that reflects our global community, empowers members  and artists that are underrepresented in the entertainment industry, and fosters a culture that  respects and values individuals of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, religions, identities, and  experiences. 

Our Commitment to Accountability and Transparency 

We are committed to promoting a culture of Accountability and Transparency both within the  organization and with our external constituencies. 

Accountability: We hold ourselves to the highest standards of professional conduct, including  through enforcement of this Code of Conduct. Our actions will send a clear message to the  entertainment industry and the general public that the HFPA is focused on promoting its mission  and will not tolerate unprofessional or unethical conduct.  

Transparency: We will build a transparent Association to develop trust between the HFPA and its  outside constituencies, including by publishing our governing documents and facilitating the  confidential reporting of any violations of these documents. We further recognize that  transparency is also a core value within the organization, and because the HFPA leadership  governs the Association on behalf of its members, the full membership has the right to understand  the leadership team’s decision-making process and to hold the leadership accountable. 

Our Commitment to Professionalism 

We are an organization of professional journalists. As such, our Association seeks to uphold the  highest standards of professionalism in our members’ conduct with each other and with outside  constituencies. 

Welcoming Culture: We are committed to creating a welcoming culture for those outside of our  Association, including by acting respectfully and professionally at all HFPA and other industry  events, such as press conferences and screenings.  

Mutual Respect: We are committed to fostering an environment of mutual respect among our  members, where we can engage in robust debates and conversations based on respect for each  other’s diverse opinions and experiences. Uncivil conduct will not be tolerated. 

Commitment to the Association and Its Mission: We are committed to furthering the critically  important mission and work of our Association, and we expect our members to act in the best  interests of the Association so that we can work collaboratively with each other toward our shared  goals.  

Ethical Relationships with Third Parties: We are committed to conducting the affairs of the  Association ethically and in compliance with all legal requirements. As such, all members must  avoid conflicts of interest and adhere to our Conflicts of Interest Policy, including through  disclosure of all affiliations with outside organizations.  

Principled Golden Globes Voting: We are committed to selecting all Golden Globe nominees and  winners based on a process that is beyond reproach. Members must, therefore, avoid any actions  that could lead to their impartiality being reasonably questioned. Members are prohibited from corruptly accepting, agreeing to accept, demanding, or soliciting anything of value in exchange for  an action taken by the member in his or her HFPA capacity. 

Professional Communication: We are committed to professional communication among our  members and with the public. We expect all communications to be honest, made in good faith,  and consistent with our commitment to create an environment free from discrimination or  harassment. To further promote the professionalism of all written communications, members must  use their official HFPA email addresses rather than any personal email addresses when conducting  HFPA business (e.g., emailing external parties, including publicists, studios or grant recipients on  behalf of the HFPA). Members may not use their official HFPA email addresses for any personal  activities (e.g., expressing personal views about the Association or other matters that are not related  to HFPA business).  

Examples of Covered Conduct 

In addition to the specific prohibitions outlined elsewhere in this Code of Conduct and related  policies, violations of this Code include, but are not limited to, the following: 

• Threatening, harassing or abusing others, either verbally, physically, or in writing. • Engaging in conduct that is unruly, disruptive, illegal, or endangers the safety of others. 

• Failing to follow the rules of any organization or venue hosting, sponsoring, or managing any  event that a member attends in an HFPA capacity. 

• Expressing views on behalf of the HFPA without express authorization from the Board of  Directors (the “Board”). 

• Using or attempting to use membership in the HFPA for personal profit, including by selling  tickets or credentials received because of a member’s affiliation with the HFPA or using the  HFPA name or logo in personal business activities without authorization.  

• Publicly disclosing any HFPA matter that is confidential. 

Members are, at all times, responsible for compliance with the Code, and the Code shall govern  their behavior at all times, including, but not limited to, at press conferences, screenings and other  industry events. Members are responsible for their conduct as well as the conduct of their guests,  agents, and representatives. 

Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination 

The HFPA prohibits any form of harassment or discrimination based on an individual’s race,  ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, creed, color, marital  status, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, medical condition,  physical or mental disability, military and veteran status, citizenship status, or any other legally  protected characteristic. The HFPA further prohibits and does not tolerate harassment or  discrimination against individuals who are perceived to have any of these characteristics or who  associate with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of these characteristics. Because  harassment and discrimination undermine the integrity of our organization and our work and  destroy the morale of our members, our external stakeholders, and our community partners, the  HFPA prohibits such conduct even if the conduct is not severe or pervasive and even if such  conduct does not constitute unlawful harassment or discrimination. 

Such conduct can include harassment and discrimination that is: 

• Verbal (for example, epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; derogatory statements,  comments or jokes; threatening, intimidating, or hostile language); 

• Physical (for example, assault or inappropriate or unwelcome physical contact); • Visual (for example, derogatory posters, cartoons, drawings, or gestures); or • Retaliatory (for example, threatening retaliation or taking retaliatory action). 

This list is illustrative and not exhaustive. We will promptly investigate all allegations of  harassment and discrimination, and, if warranted, we will take immediate corrective and  disciplinary action, up to and including termination of membership. We will take disciplinary  action against a member who engages in conduct that violates this policy even if the member’s  conduct occurred at a non-HFPA event. 

Sexual Harassment  

Sexual harassment has no place within or outside of the HFPA. The HFPA is committed to  providing a safe environment for our members, the external stakeholders with whom we work, and  the public.  

Sexual harassment means any harassment based on someone’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender  identity or expression. Sexual harassment may involve individuals of the same or different  genders. It includes harassment that is not sexual in nature (for example, offensive remarks about  an individual’s sex or gender), as well as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual  favors. Examples of sexual harassment may include but are not limited to:  

• Physical assault of a sexual nature or unwelcome intentional physical conduct that is sexual in  nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, or brushing against an individual’s body  in a sexual nature. 

• Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or other sexual comments, such as sexually oriented  gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments about an individual’s gender, sexuality, or sexual  experience. 

• Conditioning any professional benefit on an individual’s submission to sexual requests or  demands. 

• Taking or failing to take action as a reprisal against any individual for rejecting sexual  advances. 

This list is illustrative and not exhaustive. We will promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment, and, if warranted, we will take immediate corrective and disciplinary action, up to and  including termination of membership. We will take disciplinary action against a member who  engages in conduct that violates this policy even if the member’s conduct occurred at a non-HFPA  event.  

Confidential Reporting and Non-Retaliation

We encourage anyone who is aware of a potential violation of this Code of Conduct or any other  HFPA policy to speak up and report any concerns. The Association has contracted with  Convercent to operate a hotline and email address that is open to receive any complaints  concerning unprofessional or unethical conduct. The contact information is: 

www.HFPAListens.com 

(800) 461-9330 

Although individuals are encouraged to identify themselves while making reports so that any  necessary follow-up can be undertaken, the hotline accepts anonymous reports. In any case, the  HFPA will protect the reporter’s confidentiality to the fullest extent possible (although information may need to be shared to facilitate an investigation and response to a report). 

The Association strictly prohibits and does not tolerate any form of discipline, reprisal,  intimidation or retaliation against anyone, including HFPA members, staff, or external  stakeholders, who in good faith provides information, participates in an investigation, reports  suspected illegal or unethical activities, or raises concerns regarding conduct by the Association,  its members, staff, or agents that the reporting party reasonably believes constituted a legal  violation or violation of the HFPA’s policies.  

We encourage the immediate reporting of any form of retaliation through one of the reporting  mechanisms described above. Any member found to have engaged in retaliation will be subject  to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of membership. 

Enforcement 

Members are, at all times, responsible for compliance with the Code in its then current form. Any  violation of this Code may result in disciplinary action, including a refusal of admission to or  ejection from HFPA events, and suspension or termination of membership.  

Any applicant for membership who is found to have engaged in conduct prohibited by this Code  of Conduct or any other HFPA policies will not be admitted to the HFPA. 

The process for investigating and enforcing violations of this Code of Conduct shall include the  following steps: 

• All reports received will be investigated in a fair, timely, and thorough manner. This  investigation shall include, among other steps, an offer to speak with the reporting party and  the accused member. When warranted, a third-party investigator will conduct investigations. 

• The investigator will provide its factual findings to the full HFPA Board and will make  recommendations regarding potential disciplinary actions.  

• If the investigator substantiates the allegations, the Board will immediately initiate a  disciplinary process against the accused member. 

• The Board shall initiate this disciplinary process by sending written notification to the accused  member stating that the Board is intending to take disciplinary action and providing the  accused member with fourteen days to respond in writing. When warranted by emergency  circumstances, the Board may provide the accused member with a shorter period to respond. 

• In this written response, the accused member can request a meeting with the Board, which shall  be held expeditiously.  

• After the Board has reviewed any written and/or oral remarks from the accused member, or, if  the accused member provides no response, after the expiration of fourteen days from the  written notification, the Board shall reach reasonable conclusions based on the information  collected and vote on whether an appropriate disciplinary sanction is warranted. 

• When voting on the appropriate sanction, the Board shall be guided by, among other factors,  the severity of the conduct, the substantiation for the conduct, and the accused member’s past  conduct. Sanctions may include exclusion from events or suspension or termination of  membership. Conduct that could result in termination of membership includes violations of  the anti-harassment, non-discrimination, sexual harassment, or non-retaliation provisions of  this Code of Conduct. 

Amendment 

The Board of the HFPA may amend, supplement, or supersede this Code of Conduct upon approval  by the membership. Following any such amendment, the Board will provide all members with the  revised Code of Conduct and alert all members to all revisions during the next General  Membership Meeting. 

Compliance with Other Policies and Mandatory Trainings 

All members must adhere to this Code of Conduct as well as all other HFPA policies, procedures,  and bylaws. 

Members must also attend all mandatory HFPA trainings (including, but not limited to, sexual  harassment and implicit bias trainings).