Film industry pressure on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the body that organises the Golden Globe awards, has increased after more than 100 public relations firms sent a letter telling the organisation they had withdrawn all their celebrity clients from activities with the HFPA until it made “profound and lasting change” to correct what it described as the HFPA’s “longstanding exclusionary ethos … discriminatory behavior [and] ethical impropriety”.
According to Variety, the letter, signed by high-profile PR outfits including DDA, Premier, 42West and Rogers & Cowan/PMK, was delivered to the HFPA on Monday, following continuing criticism of the crisis-plagued organisation.
The letter reads: “We cannot advocate for our clients to participate in HFPA events or interviews as we await your explicit plans and timeline for transformational change.”
“Anything less than transparent, meaningful change that respects and honors the diversity and dignity of our clients, their colleagues and our global audience will result in immediate and irreparable damage to the relationship between our agencies, our clients and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.”
The Golden Globes TV broadcast is the HFPA’s most high-profile and lucrative event, and an industry boycott would be devastating.
The HFPA’s troubles were sparked by a report in the LA Times shortly before the most recent Golden Globe awards show, in which the HFPA was accused of a lack of diversity in its membership as well as “ethical lapses” in the way it conducted its business. The organisation’s response, in which it said it would add “Black and other underrepresented professionals to [the] organisation” and improve “transparency” over its voting and membership processes, was deemed inadequate by high-profile film industry campaign group Time’s Up.
The HFPA responded to the publicists’ letter with a statement in which it acknowledged it “should have done more, and sooner”, and said it would ensure that “at least 13 per cent of the membership be Black journalists” by the end of the year.