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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s attempts to push through much-needed reforms have floundered thus far, but on Wednesday a new radical proposal was presented to the organization by the owner of Dick Clark Productions, the company that produces the Golden Globes.
Todd Boehly, the chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries, which counts DCP amongst its media assets, presented an expanded and “complex plan,” according to The New York Times, to the HFPA members. The key elements of the reform plan include the rapid addition of 50 journalists to the HFPA’s ranks, a significant increase in members, with the Times putting the figure at 63 percent. Diversity would dominate the recruitment criteria for additional members, the Times reported, to meet head-on the biggest criticism facing the HFPA.
The second radical element of the plan is the creation of a for-profit Golden Globes company in partnership with Eldridge, governed by a 15-member board. According to the Times, the new spinoff company would have more stringent annual reaccreditation processes for HFPA members, with an emphasis on transparency.
Jesse Collins, an awards-show producer who has worked on the Oscars, the Grammys and BET awards and has a professional relationship with DCP, is involved in pushing the reform plans with Eldridge.
An Eldridge spokesperson passed along the following statement: “Eldridge strongly supports the proposed reforms to the HFPA, addressing a general lack of diversity – including, at present, no Black members – and other important issues raised by the entertainment community and others. While we recognize that this is ultimately an HFPA membership decision, we look forward to investing time and resources to ensure that essential reforms – prioritizing inclusion, transparency, and governance – are implemented, creating meaningful change and long term, sustained success.”
The HFPA has had a torrid year, its woes beginning with a Feb. 21 Los Angeles Times exposé that revealed there are currently zero black members in the HFPA, and that the HFPA, a nonprofit, has conducted its business and financial affairs in questionable ways.
Following the exposé and follow-up stories from a number of publications including THR, the Hollywood backlash against the organization was swift. There were boycott threats from Time’s Up, a coalition of more than 100 PR firms and companies like Netflix and Amazon, as well as criticism from individuals including Tom Cruise, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson. NBC, the HFPA’s broadcasting partner on the Golden Globe Awards telecast, decided that it will not air the Globes in 2022, whether or not the HFPA decides to hold a ceremony.
In May, the HFPA adopted a new code of professional and ethical conduct and signed a contract with Convercent, an ethics organization, to establish a hotline that will enable anyone — a member or not — “to report any complaints of misconduct by the HFPA or its members on an anonymous basis.” But the code did not address some of the HFPA’s most controversial practices, including the acceptance of lavish gifts and travel from studios, and members’ conduct at press conferences.
There was renewed controversy in June, when two newer members, Diederik van Hoogstraten and Wenting Xu, resigned from the HFPA, calling it “toxic” and vowing to form a competing group of journalists — “a transparent, professional and inclusive organization for the current and next generations of reporters who simply want to work together, without the toxicity.”
(Disclosure: Eldridge Industries’ MRC Entertainment is a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter through a publishing joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.)
7:24 a.m. This story has been updated with a statement from Eldridge.
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