HFPA Seeks to Add 200 New Golden Globe Voters – Without Expanding Membership (Exclusive)

The additional journalists would not be full HFPA members but would triple the number of Golden Globes voters to more than 300

A picture of the Golden Globes statue (Getty Images)
A picture of the Golden Globes statue (Getty Images)

The embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association is seeking to add 200 new voters in an attempt to get back in the good graces of Hollywood studios and publicists and save the Golden Globe Awards, TheWrap has exclusively learned.

A special meeting for the general members was held on April 4 to discuss the plan, two individuals with knowledge of the event told TheWrap. That plan, if adopted, would raise the number of Golden Globes voters to about 300, which would still be well below that of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has about 9,500 voting members.

The HFPA’s plan, led by interim HFPA CEO Todd Boehly, who was at the April 4 meeting, would draw new voters from among international journalists recommended by film-festival directors, Boehly told the members. These journalists would not become full HFPA members but would be allowed to vote for the Golden Globe Awards.

The expansion is designed to gain the support of Netflix, which Boehly told members had insisted upon a minimum of 300 voters. The hope is that once the streaming giant and other large companies sign on and begin to screen their product for the HFPA and offer the organization press conferences, the rest of Hollywood will follow. He noted that unless the HFPA takes this step, its future as a viable organization is bleak.

The Golden Globe Awards have been in crisis for more than a year over allegations of corruption, self-dealing and lack of diversity in its membership ranks — which led to NBC canceling the 2022 telecast of the awards. Recently, two U.S. congresswomen demanded that the Internal Revenue Service investigate the group’s nonprofit status because of the allegations.

The fate of the Golden Globes and the HFPA has very much hung in the balance, with few indications as to what would lead Hollywood to embrace the awards anew. Recently the group’s longtime publicity firm, Sunshine Sachs, parted ways with the HFPA last month.

Boehly, who is also the owner of MRC, the production company that produces the Golden Globe Awards and takes half of the $60 million annual licensing fee from NBC, called a special membership meeting to discuss the plan on April 4, according to sources.

The organization is expected to put the plan to a vote on April 14, according to individuals who were made aware of the vote. Some members say they have not yet been notified of that date.

Boehly’s recommendation goes against advice given last year by the law firm Ropes & Gray, which according to a member, told the HFPA it would violate nonprofit rules to have two different classes of membership.

HFPA president Helen Hoehne did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. A rep for Netflix also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At this point, the group is fighting for its existence in advance of the 80th annual Golden Globes, which under normal circumstances, would take place in early January 2023. Essentially shunned by Hollywood studios and PR firms in the wake of 2021 reports detailing its ethical lapses and lack of a single Black member, the HFPA made a series of changes to its practices but is still suffering from a publicist-led ban on press conferences and talent participation in its events.

This year’s Golden Globes was not televised, with NBC suspending its lucrative contract with the HFPA, and its only celebrity component came in the form of video recordings from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. To add insult to injury, the opening monologue at the Oscars, which usually prefers to ignore the HFPA, promised that the Globes were going to be in the In Memoriam reel.

Sharon Waxman contributed to this report.