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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization of journalists for international outlets that puts on the annual Golden Globe Awards, is now in talks with several of the constituencies that have boycotted it since a Feb. 21 Los Angeles Times piece called into question the HFPA’s demographics and financial practices, including revealing it had no Black members.
The HFPA has since enacted sweeping reforms, but its broadcasting partner NBC announced in May that it had resolved not to air the ceremony in 2022, stating, “Change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.”
Some of the people most concerned about the fate of the Globes telecast may well be the beneficiaries of the HFPA’s philanthropic largesse — the group has given away $50 million over 27 years to more than 70 causes, ranging from film scholarships and restoration to humanitarian efforts — which is largely made possible by licensing fees for the show.
HFPA bylaws require the organization to contribute at least 5 percent of each year’s profits from the Globes to its Charitable Trust (it has often given in excess of that) and, in recent years, as the organization negotiated higher licensing fees with NBC, its giving has exploded: $2.7 million in 2017, $3.3 million in 2018, $3.9 million in 2019, $4.4 million in 2020 and $4.4 million in 2021.
Before the pandemic, these funds were disbursed on behalf of the organization at a gala dinner attended by stars courting Globes votes; 2019’s dinner drew such attendees as Ali Wong, Sacha Baron Cohen and Arnold Schwarzenegger (seen above at the podium with late HFPA president Lorenzo Soria).
These donation figures, provided by the HFPA, do not count special emergency and humanitarian grants or grants announced during the Globes telecast, such as $1 million given to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and $1 million to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2018; $1 million to InsideClimate News and $1 million to the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in 2019; and in 2021, mid-pandemic, $1 million to Feeding America and $500,000 to CORE. CPJ director of development John Weis tells THR, “The support that CPJ has received from the HFPA has helped us confront the grave threats to journalists all over the world. We are deeply grateful for the HFPA’s generous gifts and look forward to our continued partnership with them.”
But with the Globes off the air in 2022, there will be no licensing fee paid to the HFPA, which has left many wondering if they can still count on financial support from the organization. The HFPA tells THR that it has decided to dip into its reserves in 2022 in order to maintain its current rate of giving, but it’s not able to do that indefinitely.
“As we will not be televised in 2022, our future giving will be curtailed but will remain integral to the association’s work,” says Helen Hoehne, the recently elected president of the HFPA who last week accepted the inaugural Angel Benefactor Award from the Asian World Film Festival, a recipient of $50,000 in HFPA grants since 2016. “Our hope is to ensure continued funding for these worthy organizations.”
This story first appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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