|Legal status||Professional association|
|Purpose||A business league of journalists and photographers covering the entertainment industry for foreign publications.|
|Headquarters||West Hollywood, California, U.S.|
|Todd L. Boehly|
|Subsidiaries||Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust (501(c)(3))|
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) was a nonprofit organization of journalists and photographers who reported on the American entertainment industry for predominantly foreign media markets. It is best known for founding and conducting the annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California every January, which honors notable achievements in film and television. The HFPA consisted of about 105 members from approximately 55 countries with a combined following of more than 250 million.
On June 12, 2023, the HFPA announced that it would disband, and that the assets related to the Golden Globes had been purchased by Dick Clark Productions and Eldridge Industries, with the proceeds going to a new non-profit created to continue the charitable giving of the HFPA.
The first Golden Globes awardees were for the cinema industry in early 1944 with a ceremony at 20th Century Fox. There, Jennifer Jones was awarded "Best Actress" honors for The Song of Bernadette, which also won for "Best Film", while Paul Lukas took home "Best Actor" laurels for Watch on the Rhine. Awards were presented in the form of scrolls.
The following year members came up with the idea of presenting winners with a golden globe encircled with a strip of motion picture film and mounted on a pedestal.
In 1950, differing philosophies among members caused a schism within the organization, resulting in a split into two separate groups: The Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association and the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood. The separation ended in 1955 when the journalists reunited under the collective title The Hollywood Foreign Press Association with firm guidelines and requirements for membership.
In 1955, the Golden Globes began honoring achievements in television as well as in film. The first honorees in the "Best Television Show" category that year were Dinah Shore, Lucy & Desi, The American Comedy and Davy Crockett.
Membership meetings are held monthly, and the officers and directors are elected annually.
In February 2021, the Los Angeles Times reported that none of the HFPA members were black. In response, in early May 2021, the association announced a series of reforms aimed at increasing membership with a "specific focus on recruiting Black members", improving governance, and reducing conflicts of interest.
The HFPA is a nonprofit organization that donates funds to entertainment-related charities. The Golden Globe Awards generates $10 million from its television broadcast each year. The HFPA hosts an annual grants banquet to distribute funds; $2.1 million was donated to nonprofits in 2015, leaving $8 million not being donated to any charities. According to the HFPA, from 1990 to 2015, over $23.9 million was donated to charity and used to fund scholarships and grants; this averaged less than $1 million dollars per year. In 2019, the organization disbursed grants worth under $6 million from a total income of over $30 million.
As of 2018[update], the HFPA announced its residency program in partnership with Film Independent. The program selects three winners from the Italian Venice Film Festival's Orizzonti section and three participants from Canada's Toronto International Film Festival to Los Angeles for an intensive workshop.
The 2020 residency program winners were TIFF participants: All These Creatures by Australian Charles Williams, Misterio by Chema Garcia from Spain, and Measure by Canadian director Karen Chapman. This is in addition to Venice winners: Atlantis, by Ukrainian Valentyn Vasyanovych, Blanco en Blanco by Spaniard Théo Court and Filipino Raymund Ribay Gutierrez.
The 2021 residency program winners were TIFF participants: Hair: The Story of Grass, Maha Al–Saati's, Jeff Wong's H’mong Sisters, and Matria by Alvaro Gago Diaz. This is in addition to the Venice winners in the Orizzonti section: Best Film - Dashte Khamoush ("The Wasteland"), by Ahmad Bahrami; Lahi, Hayop ("Genus Pan"), Lav Diaz; Best Director, and Special Jury Prize Listen, by Ana Rocha de Sousa.
Sexual harassment allegations
In 2018, actor Brendan Fraser accused former HFPA president Philip Berk of groping him in 2003. The organization commissioned an internal investigation, which concluded that while "Berk inappropriately touched Mr. Fraser, the evidence supports that it was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance.” HFPA officials asked Fraser to sign a joint statement about the matter but would not share the complete findings with him. After returning to acting in The Whale in 2022, Fraser stated unequivocally he would not attend the 2023 Golden Globe Awards ceremony due to a lack of reconciliation or apology regarding his assault accusations.
Membership and accusations of self-dealing
Although it counts some prominent journalists among its membership, since at least the 1990s, the HFPA has been accused of lax membership criteria, including accepting members with little or no journalistic background. A 1996 article in the Washington Post alleged that the majority of HFPA members were not full-time professional journalists, but rather part-time freelance writers for smaller publications as well as non-journalists, ranging from a college professor to an appliance salesman. Likewise, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times in 2021 found that the HFPA regularly paid its members over $1 million annually for serving on various committees, which may jeopardize its status as a tax-exempt non-profit organization. The report also noted that the association's small membership made it easier to sway than the significantly larger voting bodies of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the Television Academy; members allegedly were offered access to actors and film sets, as well as expensive gifts, such as high-priced hotel stays and restaurant bookings. The investigation also alleged that many of HFPA members are not journalists, and that established foreign journalists who apply are regularly rejected.
An antitrust lawsuit was filed against the HFPA in August 2020 by a Norwegian journalist, Kjersti Flaa, whose request for membership had been repeatedly rejected. She alleged that the group was operating as a cartel that monopolized the market of foreign entertainment journalism, that she had been rejected as not to cannibalize other Scandinavian members, and that her inability to join was impacting her ability to gain their "exclusive" access to celebrities and junkets. On November 24, 2020, a federal court threw out the lawsuit, arguing that Flaa did not define the "market" that the HFPA was allegedly monopolizing, and that the HFPA was not subject to the right of fair procedure, since engaging in an "activity of some interest to the public" was not the same as operating "in the public interest".
In 2021, the HFPA faced criticism for the lack of Black representation among its members; it was reported by the Los Angeles Times that the association had not had a new Black member since Meher Tatna, its former president, in 2002. Variety cited criteria requiring new members to have been sponsored by two current HFPA members as being a major roadblock towards recruiting new Black members, stating that "for a foreign journalist based in Los Angeles, building relationships with this small group, which are largely unknown to the public, is difficult due to its tight and exclusive membership policies. More transparency would help alleviate the public perception that the group doesn't seek to be inclusive."
Ahead of the 78th Golden Globe Awards, Time's Up launched a social media campaign to draw attention to the issue. On February 25, 2021, the HFPA stated that it was "fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, TV and the artists inspiring and educating them", and that it planned to "immediately work to implement an action plan" to "bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds." The HFPA stated that over 35% of its members were from non-European countries and does contain people of color, but it was aware that none of its current members were Black.
On March 9, 2021, the HFPA announced that it had hired Shaun R. Harper, executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center, as its new "strategic diversity officer", and hired Ropes & Gray to "support the continued development of a confidential reporting system for investigating alleged violations of our ethical standards and code of conduct." In April 2021, former HFPA president Philip Berk was expelled after he emailed fellow members an article that described Black Lives Matter as a "racist hate movement", and slammed organizer Patrisse Cullors for purchasing a home in an upscale neighborhood.
Attempts at reforms, boycotts
On May 3, 2021, the HFPA announced plans for a reform package, including a 50% increase in members over the next 18 months with a particular focus on underrepresented groups (with at least 20 new members over the next year, which will have a focus on new Black members), new professional administrative positions (including a CEO, CFO, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, and chief human resources officer), establishing an oversight board for a "critical organizational reform", and other accountability improvements (including term limits for board members and restricting internal "gifts"). The majority of the HFPA's members voted in favor of the package on May 6; due to California law, the changes to the organization's bylaws are subject to further votes by the HFPA's full membership scheduled in June and July.
While Dick Clark Productions and NBC—the long-time producer and broadcaster of the Golden Globes respectively—supported the planned reforms, Time's Up and a group of 100 PR firms criticized the lack of given timelines for filling some of the new management positions, arguing that they would not be completed soon enough to have any material impact on the cycle of the next Golden Globes. Time's Up further argued that the package "largely contains no specifics" nor "commitments to real accountability or change".
On May 7, 2021, both Amazon Studios and Netflix announced that they would stop their activities with the HFPA until sufficient actions on reforms are made. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos explained that the company "[doesn'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".
On May 10, AT&T-owned WarnerMedia and its subsidiaries similarly boycotted the HFPA, stating that the proposed reforms "[don'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", and also criticizing "special favors and unprofessional requests [that] have been made to our teams and to others across the industry", the lack of diversity among Golden Globe nominees and winners, and the HFPA not having an "enforced code of conduct that includes zero tolerance for unwanted physical contact of all talent and staff."
The same day, NBC announced that it would not broadcast the 79th Golden Globe Awards ceremony in 2022, stating that "change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right", and that "we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023." In support of the boycotts, Tom Cruise returned the Golden Globes that he won for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia. Following these events, the HFPA released a new timeline for its reforms, which would see the process completed by the week of August 2.
On October 1, the HFPA released a list of 21 new members that it had recruited under these reforms, increasing its membership by 20 percent. The HFPA then announced on October 15 that it still planned to hold the 79th Golden Globe Awards ceremony anyway, with or without a U.S. broadcaster. The ceremony was ultimately held as a private event with only HFPA beneficiaries present, and contained a major focus on its philanthropic activities.
In July 2022, the HFPA approved a major restructuring, under which interim CEO Todd Boehly will establish a for-profit entity via his holding company Eldridge Industries (owner of ceremony producer Dick Clark Productions, as well as the entertainment trade publication The Hollywood Reporter) that will hold the Golden Globe Awards' intellectual property and oversee the "professionalization and modernization" of the ceremony, including "[increasing] the size and diversity of the available voters for the annual awards". The HFPA's philanthropic activities would continue separately as a non-profit entity.
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