The future of the Golden Globes – and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the small group of international journalists who decide the nominees and winners every year – is currently up in the air. Following a damning report by the Los Angeles Times about the HFPA’s galling lack of diversity – there are no Black journalist among the 87-member group – and a second LA Times report alleging rampant corruption, the Golden Globes have faced a huge backlash from studios, television networks, and A-List celebrities. Tom Cruise has reportedly returned his awards. Scarlett Johansson issued a statement on how she “refused to participate” in HFPA events after “facing sexist questions” that “bordered on sexual harassment.” On top of that, NBC decided that it wouldn’t air the 2022 Golden Globes ceremony.
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” NBC said in a statement, per Variety. “However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.” As the backlash grows, here is a list of stars and organizations who are through with the HFPA.
While many have turned their backs on the Golden Globes and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Tom Cruise struck a huge blow against the organization on May 10. Tom returned his three Golden Globe trophies, according to Deadline, in the wake of the show’s cancellation and diversity schedule. Tom won two Best Actor trophies — one for Jerry Maguire in 1997 and one for Born on the Fourth of July in 1990 – and one for Best Supporting Actor, which he took home in 2000 for his role in Magnolia. HollywoodLife reached out to Tom’s camp for confirmation on the report and will update with further news.
Two days before Tom reportedly returned his trophies – and two days before NBC gave the 2022 show the ax — Scarlett Johansson spoke out against the HFPA and its rampant misogyny and sexism. “As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows,” she said in a statement to Variety. “In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences.”
“The HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition and the industry followed suit,” she added. “Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole.”
“Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award,” said Mark Ruffalo, who won an award for his part in HBO’s I Know This Much Is True, said in a statement, per Deadline. “ It’s discouraging, to see the HFPA, which has gained prominence and profited handsomely from their involvement with filmmakers and actors, resist the change that is being asked of them from many of the groups that have been most disenfranchised by their culture of secrecy and exclusion. Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past.”
Netflix, Amazon & WarnerMedia
A month after the initial Los Angeles Times reports, the publication published an email by former HFPA president Phil Berk, who claimed that Black Lives Matter was a “racist hate movement,” that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors was a “self-proclaimed ‘trained Marxist’”, and that the movement is “carrying on [Charles Manson’s] work.” In May, 75 of the HFPA’s 86 members voted on reforms, including “to start hiring a search firm to bring in a CEO, a Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer and other administrative executives, as well as find a company to help set up a hotline to report conduct violations,” per Deadline. Plus, the HFPA would also “begin to look for new members ASAP. The stated aim is to achieve a goal of 20 new members over the next year and increase the group’s total membership by 50% in the next two years.”
This move was denounced as too little, too late. “Like many in our industry, we’ve been waiting for today’s announcement in the hope that you would acknowledge the breadth of issues facing the HFPA and provide a clear roadmap for change,” said Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, per Deadline. “Today’s vote is an important first step. However, we don’t believe these proposed new policies — particularly around the size and speed of membership growth — will tackle the HFPA’s systemic diversity and inclusion challenges, or the lack of clear standards for how your members should operate. So we’re stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made.”
Soon after Netflix decided to not take part in any of the HFPA activities, Amazon joined in on the boycott. “We have not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward,” said Amazon Studios’ chief Jennifer Salke, per The Hollywood Reporter. WarnerMedia – which encompasses HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Warner Bros. Television, TNT, and TBS – also joined the boycott, saying the proposals adopted on the May 6 vote doesn’t go “far enough in addressing the breadth of our concerns, nor does your timeline capture the immediate need by which these issues should be addressed. WarnerMedia Studios and Networks will continue to refrain from direct engagement with the HFPA, including sanctioned press conferences and invitations to cover other industry events with talent, until these changes are implemented.”