Turns out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doesn’t think being a member of the organization is really that helpful in Tinseltown. Or at least that’s what it implied today in a pugilistic response to an antitrust lawsuit filed by Norwegian entertainment journalist Kjersti Flaa back in August.
“A cursory review of the sweeping, often incoherent, and internally inconsistent allegations, particularly when coupled with the international press tour Flaa and her counsel launched after filing two months ago, reveals Flaa’s bad-faith motives for this lawsuit: to garner publicity, intimidate HFPA members into voting her into the membership, and publicly shame members who did not blindly support her membership application,” states a motion filed Monday in federal court to dismiss Flaa’s suit. “But Flaa comes nowhere close to stating a viable cause of action,” the 34-page motion adds (READ IT HERE).
“Moreover, Flaa’s admitted success as a foreign entertainment journalist in Los Angeles, New York, and Norway—all while she was not a HFPA member—is fatal to this cause of action,” the filing from the HFPA’s outside counsel at Latham & Watkins continues, taking swipes at the plaintiff for her alleged “demonstrated ageism, history of racist remarks, among others. “In sum, Flaa has no legal right to become a member of the HFPA and has alleged nothing that suggests she could remedy the defects in her complaint. Defendants respectfully request that her complaint be dismissed with prejudice.”
That means the group behind the often-rollicking Golden Globes on NBC wants this sometimes-spicy lawsuit not just dismissed, but DOA to never rise in the courts again. The HFPA has requested a November 20 hearing on their motion before Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr.
To throw fuel on the immediate fire, the 87-member HFPA also accused Flaa and her One LLP attorneys of committing an ethnic slur against now deceased group president Lorenzo Soria. In her August 3 five-claim and jury trial-seeking complaint, Flaa and her lawyers wrote that Soria was “enforcing [the HFPA’s] implied oath of omertà” – a turn of phrase that the HFPA and its lawyers assert in the footnotes of today’s response is “a not-so-veiled swipe at his Italian heritage.”
Soria passed away on August 7 at the age of 68. He was replaced at the top of the 70-year old insular international journo outfit by Ali Sar on August 13. Unlike Soria, Sar is not a defendant in the action, at least not yet.
Before today, the HFPA’s official statement in reaction to multiple applicant Flaa’s lawsuit was to say: “While the HFPA has not yet been served with this complaint, it seems consistent with Ms. Flaa’s ongoing attempts to shake down the HFPA, demanding that the HFPA pay her off and immediately admit her prior to the conclusion of the usual annual election process applied to every other HFPA applicant.” The long-ish statement concluded: “The HFPA takes seriously its obligations as an organization and its dedication to foreign journalism and philanthropy, and it will vigorously defend against these baseless claims.”
Which is what they seem to be doing, kitchen sink and all, today.
BTW: Worth noting that Flaa’s attorney David Quinto was one of AMPAS’ main lawyers for many years. So he knows a thing or two about what goes on behind the closed door, so to speak.