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Time’s Up Slams Golden Globes Org’s Diversity Pledge: ‘That Is Not a Solution’

”The HFPA’s statements tonight and over the last several days indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the depth of the problems at hand,“ group says

Time’s Up issued letters to both the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC following the 2021 Golden Globes, slamming the HFPA’s statements during the broadcast and in the past few days regarding the lack of diversity in its organization.

“The HFPA’s statements tonight and over the last several days indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the depth of the problems at hand,” Time’s Up letter to HFPA members Helen Hoehne, Meher Tatna and Ali Sar read. “Your stated version of change is cosmetic — find Black people. That is not a solution.”

“We listened tonight and hoped to hear the HFPA respond with some awareness that the industry wide discontent with your organization’s practices goes far beyond what you offered tonight and in the days preceding. What we had hoped you heard was that not having a Black member was a symptom of a problem, not just the problem itself,” the letter continued. “The Globes are no longer golden. We at Time’s Up stand ready to work for real change.”

In the letter to NBC, the organization said, “We recognize the significance of the Golden Globes to the awards season, but a claim to significant real estate is not an exemption from a lack of obligation to the ethical standards that the industry is embracing. To the contrary, it is your obligation. We urge NBCUniversal to lead this effort. We at Time’s Up stand ready to work for real change.”

Earlier this week, Time’s Up led Hollywood in criticizing the HFPA after the Los Angeles Times reported that none of the organization’s 87 members are Black, despite the push for diversity in Hollywood since the #OscarsSoWhite campaign launched in 2015. Hollywood bigwigs like Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow and Shonda Rhimes joined in posting statements calling for more diversity, leading the organization to voice a commitment to diversify.

On Sunday’s awards show, HFPA member Helen Hoehne said on stage, “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.”

HFPA president Ali Sar added, “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.”

Read the full letters below.

Letter to HFPA:

Dear Ms. Tatna, Ms. Hoehne and Mr. Sar,

Three years ago, TIME’S UP sparked a movement at the Golden Globes. Pledging to work with allies across the country – across the globe – we demanded workplaces that are free from sexual harassment and to require institutions plagued by inequality to open their doors and create greater opportunities for all. We are at your door now to discuss your workplace.

Yes, the lack of diverse representation in your membership is significant and an embarrassment in its own right. However, it is only one of many concerns of inclusion and respect that have been documented in the LA Times, The New York Times, and most of the industry trade papers. You are aware of every allegation. We have also gathered them on our website.

You must now address the systemic problems within your organization. The HFPA’s statements tonight and over the last several days indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the depth of the problems at hand. Your stated version of change is cosmetic – find Black people. That is not a solution.

The problems with the HFPA cannot be addressed simply by a search for new members who meet your self-declared membership criteria. That criteria reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of the problems at hand. Change only occurs from an awareness of larger cultural problems, as well as a long-term commitment to systemic change. The membership of a small, exclusive private association would generally not merit such broad concern. However, it is unquestionable that HFPA’s award show has an outsized impact on the
entertainment industry and by extension our overall culture.

We listened tonight and hoped to hear the HFPA respond with some awareness that the industry wide discontent with your organization’s practices goes far beyond what you offered tonight and in the days preceding. What we had hoped you heard was that not having a Black member was a symptom of a problem, not just the problem itself.

At TIME’S UP, we know that the only way to create safe, fair and dignified work for all is to break down the hidden power structures and toxic cultures that block full inclusion and equity.

The Globes are no longer golden. We at TIME’S UP stand ready to work for real change.

Letter to NBC:

Dear Colleagues,

Three years ago, TIME’S UP sparked a movement at the Golden Globes. Pledging to work with allies across the country – across the globe – we demanded workplaces that are free from sexual harassment and to require institutions plagued by inequality to open their doors and create greater opportunities for all. We must fix the Golden Globes.

Statements made by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) tonight and over the last several days indicate that the organization believes it can make the fix. Nothing shared thus far should make the industry confident that the organization alone will create the solution.

If the HFPA understood the social reckoning of these times, it would not have needed an LA Times exposé followed by negative global press and a pummeling on social media to announce a commitment to change. The organization’s stated version of change is cosmetic – find Black people. That is not a solution. Change only occurs from an awareness of larger cultural problems, as well as a long-term commitment to systemic change. We wish the HFPA had responded tonight with some awareness that the industry-wide discontent with its practices goes far beyond the embarrassing disclosure that they cannot recall the last time it had a Black member.

We won’t list for you in this letter the many concerns that have dogged the HFPA for years. We have compiled those on our website. And there are more that you may not yet be aware of. This goes far beyond the simplistic description we heard tonight of representation and inclusion. The awards process must be free from concerns of racism or misogyny and devoid of the stories of rampant discrimination against filmmakers of color and the discomfort of actors who participate in any event.

The HFPA’s self-declared membership criteria demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the problems at hand. It calls into question the entire mission of the organization itself. The internal workings of a small, exclusive, private association would generally not merit such broad concern. However, it demands change because the HFPA’s award show which airs on your network has an outsized impact on the entertainment industry and by extension our overall culture.

Much of the credibility of the Golden Globes is drawn from its affiliation with your network. NBCUniversal has a reputational interest in fixing these issues. To do so is consistent with your Chairman Brian Roberts’s commitment that the “company will try to play an integral role in driving lasting reform.” As leaders of NBCUniversal television, your power as stakeholders makes you an effective force of change.

At TIME’S UP, we know that the only way to create safe, fair and dignified work for all is to break down the hidden power structures and toxic cultures that block full inclusion and equity. We recognize the significance of the Golden Globes to the awards season, but a claim to significant real estate is not an exemption from a lack of obligation to the ethical standards that the industry is embracing. To the contrary, it is your obligation. We urge NBCUniversal to lead this effort. We at TIME’S UP stand ready to work for real change.

The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act.