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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association now has six Black members.
Best known for hosting the annual Golden Globe Awards, the organization of journalists for non-American outlets came under fire last February when a Los Angeles Times exposé revealed that it counted zero Black people among its then 87 members. The 78th Golden Globe Awards went forward on Feb. 28, but shortly thereafter a coalition of publicists and numerous studios, networks and talent said they would cease further engagement with the HFPA unless and until it made substantial changes to its demographics and ethics policies.
Ever since, the HFPA’s leadership has been working with outside advisors and crisis counselors to amend its bylaws. The full membership approved numerous changes including eliminating the requirement that members be based in Southern California and expanding eligibility to all qualified journalists in the U.S. who work for a foreign publication; removing restrictions on the number of members admitted per year and promising to admit at least 20 this year; and revising membership prerequisites, ostensibly tightening the journalistic and ethical requirements of both current and new members.
On Friday, the HFPA announced that its incoming class of new members — who will have immediate voting rights for the Golden Globe Awards — will be comprised of 21 journalists (representing a 20 percent increase in the overall size of the organization’s membership). The organization reports that it is the largest and most diverse class of new members in its history — in addition to noting that six of the new members are Black, the HFPA reports that 10 are women, six are Latinx, five are Asian and four are Middle Eastern/North African.
The HFPA’s 2021 class of new members consists of:
- Raffi Boghosian (Al Arabiya)
- Kelley Carter (ESPN Global)
- David ‘Dudi’ Caspi (Israel Hayom)
- Yong Chavez (ABS-CBN)
- Andrés Correa Guatarasma (El Universal)
- Earl Gibson III (Getty Images)
- Eun Seon Ha (KOIFC)
- Hamdy Howaida (El Akhbar)
- Itsuko Hirai (Movie Walker Press)
- K.J. Matthews (DW-TV)
- Juan Navaroo (Televisa)
- Jânio Carlos Vieira Nazareth (Cinépop)
- Ruben Peralta-Rigaud (SensaCine)
- Gerardo Prat (¡HOLA! TV)
- Kimberly Reyes (Film Ireland)
- Mico Saad (TeN TV)
- Asel Sherniyazova (AKIpress News Agency)
- Gabriel Silva Lamboglia (El País)
- Miriam Spritzer (L’Officiel Brasil)
- Mario Pacheco Székely (El Universal)
- Yuko Yoshikawa (Cinema Today)
“We are thrilled to welcome these new members into our family,” recently elected HFPA president Helen Hoehne said in a statement. “We are building a new organization, one that is not focused on fulfilling quotas, but instead has diversity and inclusion at its core, has ethical conduct as the norm, and has people of color involved ine very aspect of the Association — from membership to executive leadership. That is how we’re growing an inclusive environment, and for us to make this much progress in six months is a testament to our membership and our dedication to building something better.”
Added Tre’vell Anderson, one of the five non-HFPA members who joined the HFPA’s credentials committee on Monday (the committee’s other four members are members of the HFPA) and helped to review the applications, “As a committee, we’re proud of this first class we’ve invited to join the reimagined HFPA. They’re a group of well-respected journalists from around the world who will bring a variety of unique perspectives to this organization. That said, we recognize that this is just a first step in a long process, and as a committee, we’re excited to build upon our work in the weeks, months and years to come to cintunue creating a more inclusive and supportive collective.”
The HFPA intends “to offer support and pipeline programs in the future to applicants who were not accepted, working with them over the next year to ensure they have the proper materials needed to meet the new membership criteria if they choose to reapply.” And the organization is also currently searching for a CEO.
It remains to be seen if, on the basis of the aforementioned changes, Hollywood’s publicists, studios, networks and talent will elect to resume interactions with the HFPA. It is noteworthy that when the HFPA announced its intention to add 13 Black members back in March — more than twice the number added on Friday — the organization was widely ridiculed.
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