Is It Time’s Up For HFPA After Latest Controversy? Time For NBCUniversal To Overhaul Golden Globes?


UPDATE: NBC issued this statement: “NBC strongly condemns Phil Berk’s actions and is calling for his immediate expulsion. While we continue to await the details of HFPA’s upcoming plan for reform, swift action on this front is an essential element for NBC to move forward with the HFPA and the Golden Globes.”

EARLIER: Months after an LA Times report revealed that the Hollywood Foreign Press had no Black members voting for Golden Globes and that voting members were being financially subsidized, the HFPA dug its hole deep by way of a tone deaf email sent to members by former 8-term president Philip Berk. Berk, who was once accused by actor Brendan Fraser of groping the actor, sent an email that declared Black Lives Matter is a “racist hate movement” and criticized co-founder Patrisse Cullors for recent real estate purchases, calling her a “trained Marxist.”

The dispatch reportedly included this: “The house is down the road from one of the homes involved in the Manson murders, which seems only appropriate since Manson wanted to start a race war.” It suggested BLM was carrying on the work of Manson. Members reacted with strenuous disagreements to the 88-year old HFPA member Berk, per a report last night in LAT by Stacy Perman.

The HFPA responded with statements to the trades: “Since its inception, the HFPA has dedicated itself to bridging cultural connections and creating further understanding of different backgrounds through film and TV. The views expressed in the article circulated by Mr. Berk are those of the author of the article and do not — in any way shape or form – reflect the views and values of the HFPA. The HFPA condemns all forms of racism, discrimination and hate speech and finds such language and content unacceptable.”

After the initial LAT report hung over the Golden Globes, HFPA brought in a diversity advisor, and pledged to add 13 Black members and get its act together by early May. Berk might be out of power, but his attitude says something, coming from a man who held the seat of power so long.

A majority of Hollywood publicists threatened to suggest to star clients a boycott of the next Globes if meaningful change doesn’t happen quickly. After all, HFPA board watched the Academy wrestle for five years to diversify its voting body, while the HFPA continued to not have a single Black voting member for decades. Perhaps it is time for NBCUniversal — which has aired the Globes for a quarter century and reportedly pays $60 million a year to HFPA and Dick Clark Productions in a deal that runs through 2026 — to take a stand and simply say, Times Up. The HFPA has long had a rep for its many entitled freeloading members, and the value of awards meted out by 87 journalists of dubious repute has always been something of a joke. How many chances are these people going to get before Hollywood says, enough?

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