7:10pm PT by Scott Feinberg
Golden Globes: NBCUniversal Says It's Using Its "Influence" to Pressure HFPA to Reform
Time's Up weighed in first. Then talent. And then more than 100 entertainment PR firms.
On Wednesday, NBCUniversal, the network which airs the annual Golden Globe Awards, took its turn criticizing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization of 87 journalists which decides the Globes nominees and winners.
The HFPA has been under constant fire ever since a Feb. 21 exposé in the Los Angeles Times revealed that, among other major ethical lapses, the organization has zero Black members. But through it all, the Peacock Network — which has aired the Globes for the past 25 years, and in 2018 extended its TV rights deal with the HFPA and Dick Clark Productions for nearly $60 million a year through 2026 — had remained silent.
Now, the Comcast Corp.-owned media company is telling the Times, "Our perceived silence on this should not be equated with apathy or a lack of concern." Indeed, NBCUniversal Executive VP and Chief Diversity Officer Craig Robinson told the Times, "We are taking these issues very seriously, and we also understand our role and the importance of our role in encouraging HFPA to make what we deem to be necessary changes — and we are using that influence."
Robinson said NBCUniversal executives, including Susan Rovner, who is chairman of television and streaming entertainment content, and Frances Berwick, who is chairman of entertainment networks, had the first of several meetings with the HFPA shortly after the 78th Golden Globes aired on NBC on Feb. 28, and, in the words of the Times, "stressed that the show's viability depends on the group’s efforts to reform."
According to the Times, NBCUniversal has specifically asked the HFPA to recruit Black and other diverse members, and also address questionable financial practices detailed in the initial Times piece. The publication said that none of the NBCUniversal execs with whom it spoke for the story would confirm if they had threatened to terminate the recently extended TV deal.
This year's Globes telecast, which was largely virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, generated a record-low 6.9 million viewers.