UPDATED with HFPA response and Time’s Up statement: In a letter addressed to HFPA COO Greg Goecker and Board Chair Meher Tatna, a collective of Hollywood publicists today warned the group it had better make meaningful changes, or risk them telling their star clients to stay away from the Golden Globes.
The HFPA’s board issued a lengthy statement in response, which says in part that the board has “unanimously approved a plan to increase membership to a minimum of 100 members this year, with a requirement that at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists.” Read the full statement below.
Time’s Up also issued a statement tonight commending the publicists’ move. Read that below also.
The HFPA, never the most credible of organizations, is usually the subject of an expose every few years. This year was a doozy, with the LA Times uncovering that the group didn’t have a single Black member, and that it was subsidizing the paltry income of voting “journalists” by paying them to be on committees. While HFPA heads have repeatedly pledged it has heard the criticism and will change, there is skepticism. Times Up has demanded that the board resigning would be a good start for an overhaul. Pressure even has reached NBCUniversal and Comcast because the Globes are a primetime broadcast and lines the pockets of the dubious organization. HFPA members, who are not considered major journalistic voices but hold outsized sway over an awards ceremony whose timing makes it a stepping stone to the more valid Oscar and Emmy races, have long had a negative rep of being largely comprised of entitled selfie-seeking freeloaders. Here’s to making sure that they become a more diverse group of those.
The PR firms have sent the letter to press.
Here is the publicists’ letter, followed by the HFPA board’s response statement:
As publicists we collectively represent the vast majority of artists in the entertainment industry.
We call on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to swiftly manifest profound and lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos and pervasive practice of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption endemic to the HFPA, funded by Dick Clark Productions, MRC, NBCUniversal and Comcast.
In the last decade our industry has faced a seismic reckoning and begun to address its failure to reflect and honor the diversity of our community, yet we have witnessed no acceptance of responsibility, accountability or action from the HFPA, even as systemic inequity and egregious behavior are allowed to continue. We collectively and unequivocally agree that transformative change in your organization and its historical practices is essential and entirely achievable. We want to be part of the solution.
To reflect how urgent and necessary we feel this work is, we cannot advocate for our clients to participate in HFPA events or interviews as we await your explicit plans and timeline for transformational change.
While we stand ready to support your good faith efforts, please know that anything less than transparent, meaningful change that respects and honors the diversity and dignity of our clients, their colleagues and our global audience will result in immediate and irreparable damage to the relationship between our agencies, our clients and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and those who sanction the institutional inequity and insular culture that currently define it.
The eyes of the industry and those who support it are watching.
align Public Relations
Anderson Group Public
Ascend Public Relations Group
Carol Marshall Public Relations
Cassandra Butcher PR &
Cinematic Red PR
Core PR Group
Elzer & Associates
Flash Forward Publicity
Full Coverage Communications
Guttman Associates Public
Heidi Schaeffer Public Relations
Image Management PR
Independent Public Relations
Jill Fritzo Public Relations
Joy Fehily Management +
Katrina Wan PR
Katz Public Relations
LSG Public Relations
Main Stage Public Relations
Marleah Leslie & Associates
McClure & Associates Public
Meghan Prophet Public
MRC Publicity and Marketing
Nancy Seltzer & Associates
Patricola Public Relations
Paula Woods Consultants
Pinnacle Public Relations
Platform Public Relations
PMG-Platform Media Group
Presse Public Relations
Prism Media Group
Public Eye Communications
Red Sea Entertainment
Rogers & Cowan/PMK
Rosenfield Media Group
Schure Media Group
Strategic Heights Media
Strategic Public Relations
SYStrategies & PR
Tencer & Associates
The Chamber Group
The Collins Jackson Agency
The Initiative Group
The Lede Company
The Oriel Company
The Samonte Group
True Public Relations
VanIden Public Relations
Here is the HFPA board’s statement:
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association reiterates that we are committed to making necessary changes within our organization and in our industry as a whole. We also acknowledge that we should have done more, and sooner. As a demonstration of our commitment, the board has unanimously approved a plan to increase membership to a minimum of 100 members this year, with a requirement that at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists.
We are also continuing to work on the comprehensive initiatives announced last week. Our outside legal counsel has already begun to work on how to effectively implement transformational changes to our organization, including a comprehensive review of our governance and code of conduct, and Dr. Shaun Harper, our new strategic diversity advisor, has identified the following workstreams:
Analyzing policies, practices, member recruitment activities, and member selection processes through the prism of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI);
Facilitating 20 quarterly trainings over the next five years on DEI topics ranging from implicit and explicit bias to strategically diversifying the membership, evolving the Association with changing demographics, welcoming Black members into an inclusive environment, and ensuring equitable pathways to leadership for women members, to name a few;
Facilitating introductions to prospective strategic DEI partner organizations in journalism and entertainment, and developing a strategy to sustain those mutually-rewarding relationships over many years;
Conducting interviews with members to invite their input on the development and strategic actualization of DEI goals. Also gathering qualitative insights from industry leaders on what they feel the Association must do to become more equitable, diverse, and inclusive; and
Systematically assessing and making transparent the Association’s year-to-year progress on DEI goals and commitments.
We have also started meeting with various advocacy groups and racially diverse partners to gather their input and hear their opinions on the additional reforms that need to take place. While we recognize this is a long-term process, we will continue to be transparent, provide updates, and have confidence in our ability to change and restore trust in our organization and the Golden Globes. As we do so, we invite others in the Hollywood community to join us in advancing racial equity in our industry.
Here is Time’s Up statement from president and CEO Tina Tchen:
“We are proud to be in solidarity with the voices of over 100 Hollywood PR firms in calling for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to radically transform the Golden Globes. We agree that anything less than transparent, meaningful change will no longer be acceptable. The entire world is watching.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.