HFPA Members Overwhelmingly Approve New Reforms (Exclusive)

Earlier this week, the Golden Globes group committed to a sweeping “reimagination” of the org

HFPA Golden Globes Helen Hoehne Ali Sar Meher Tatna 2021
HFPA members Helen Hoehne, Ali Sar and Meher Tatna at the 2021 ceremony (Photos: NBC)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association overwhelming approved a set of sweeping reforms on Thursday that will remake the embattled organization that votes on the Golden Globes, TheWrap has learned exclusively.

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.

The current bylaws require two-thirds of its membership to vote for an amendment of its bylaws. In a statement, HFPA President Ali Sar said, “Today’s overwhelming vote to reform the Association reaffirms our commitment to change. That’s why we’ve already taken some action that will allow us to make swift progress. Because we understand the urgency and issue of transparency, we will be continuously updating the members as we move forward in making our organization more inclusive and diverse. Again, we understand that the hard work starts now. We remain dedicated to becoming a better organization and an example of diversity, transparency and accountability in the industry.”

Earlier this week, the group 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.”

“We are pleased to see the members of the HFPA commit to this plan,” said Dick Clark Productions, which puts on the Golden Globes. “It’s a big step in the right direction as they now turn to taking immediate steps to implement. The external advisors and many advocacy groups who have come to the table for an open dialogue are a vital part of the reimagination of the organization as we all march toward a more inclusive and transparent future.” 

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.

In the memo to members from earlier this week, the group said it would immediately establish an independent review committee consisting of “racially and ethnically diverse members” to oversee the reforms. Additionally, the group will hold a new board election, under new bylaws, no later than Sept. 1. (Board positions are not lifetime appointments, so every member must run for reelection after two years.)

The group also pledged to immediately retain a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and develop a “comprehensive” DEI strategy, as well as hire professional management staff, including a chief executive officer, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, a chief human resources officer and a chief financial officer by Sept. 1. Non-HFPA members will be eligible to serve on the board.

You can see a full list of the proposed reforms here.


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