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As the world — er, globe — turns …
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group of journalists for outlets based abroad that is best known for presiding over the annual Golden Globe Awards, has voted to approve sweeping reforms to its organization that were proposed by its board on Monday.
The vote occurred on the very date that the HFPA had cited as its self-imposed deadline to address widespread criticism that arose in the wake of a Feb. 21 Los Angeles Times exposé about the organization’s demographics (it currently counts zero Black journalists among its 86 members) and ethics (it has long accepted complimentary travel and gifts from companies and people whose work it then votes upon).
On Monday, the board had sent a letter to its members explaining that it spent the prior 60 days crafting a proposal outlining “structural changes to the organization,” and vowed that it will take “more serious measures,” including but not limited to resigning, if the membership did not approve and implement the reforms in a timely manner.
The board’s letter was quickly followed by statements endorsing the proposals from the HFPA’s broadcasting partners for the annual Golden Globe Awards, NBCUniversal and Dick Clark Productions.
It still remains to be seen if the HFPA’s planned changes are enough to quell threats of an HFPA boycott from Time’s Up, the coalition formed in the wake of #MeToo to combat workplace discrimination, and the entertainment industry’s PR firms, more than 100 of which sent a letter to the HPFA demanding substantial change.
The proposal of the board, now endorsed by the full membership, calls on the organization to admit “at least 20 new members in 2021, with a specific focus on recruiting Black members,” and with “a goal of increasing the membership by 50% over the next 18 months.” It also eliminates the requirement that HFPA members must reside in Southern California, expanding eligibility to any qualified journalist living in the U.S. who works for a foreign outlet.
It also opens membership to journalists who work “in media beyond print”; eliminates the requirement that new members must be sponsored by existing members, as well as the cap of new members per year; and explicitly reaffirms that “there are no limitations on the number of members from each territory” of the world, something that the HFPA was recently accused of enforcing in a lawsuit filed by a journalist who had been denied admission to the group. (The lawsuit was dismissed.)
Henceforth, “all current members will be required to meet the same standards as incoming members for reaccreditation of their membership,” as well as to adhere to “a new code of conduct.” This code of conduct will mandate that members no longer accept promotional items and aims to better address the “structure of press travel” and “press conference procedures, including consulting with publicists.”
Additionally, the HFPA will “hire a professional management staff, including, but not limited to, a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, with the goal of having the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer in place by September 1, 2021.”
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