Philip Berk, a member and eight-term past president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the Golden Globe Awards, is in deep trouble.
A day after news broke in the Los Angeles Times that the 88-year-old had forwarded an article to his fellow members slamming Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement” — and with the HFPA under the microscope after it was revealed that it currently includes zero Black journalists among its 87 members — both NBC, which broadcasts the Golden Globe Awards, and MRC, which owns the company that produces it, Dick Clark Productions, are demanding his expulsion from the group. (MRC is also a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.)
It is hard to imagine that the group will be able to push back against these demands from its powerful partners.
“NBC strongly condemns Phil Berk’s actions and is calling for his immediate expulsion,” the network said in a statement. “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.”
Added MRC, “We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, artists, journalists and executives who have been hurt or overlooked by the HFPA. We are disgusted by the racist rhetoric disseminated by a member yesterday. We were encouraged by the very strong statements the HFPA previously made around improving their organization around issues of racial reform and equity. The actions and statements of this member are inconsistent with the direction that the HFPA has publicly said it has embarked upon.”
The MRC statement continues, “We are calling upon the HFPA to take quick and decisive action against this member. Earlier this year we laid out our expectations to the organization and have been working to influence and support the progress that so many of us want to see. While we remain hopeful that progress is being made and a clear actionable roadmap is unveiled, we are deeply disappointed by this latest development. We want to reiterate publicly that there must be meaningful change defined in the May 6th plan.”
Berk had previously brought disrepute on the HFPA via a controversial memoir and when actor Brendan Fraser accused Berk of groping Fraser’s buttocks.