The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the group behind the annual Golden Globes awards, has no black people in its membership and has reportedly rejected legitimate journalists in favor of those who aren’t serious journalists. The findings come just a week before the 78th Golden Globes ceremony is set to take place, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting the show braodacasting on NBC on Sunday.
Widely considered a joke in the entertainment industry, the organization is also facing accusations that it pays its own members using money from from the organization’s TV deal with NBC. The group continues to allow its voting members to receive lavish perks from the studios, including gifts and overseas junkets.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the HFPA has no black journalists among its 87 members, with members coming from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This year’s Golden Globes nominations came under fire from the mainstream media for marginalizing black-centric movies, including Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, which was completely shut out.
A representative for the group told the Times it is aware of and is “committed to addressing” the issue.
Hollywood director Ava DuVernay responded to the report, tweeting that “people are acting like this isn’t widely known.” Regina King, who is nominated this year for her directorial debut One Night in Miami, seconded DuVernay’s comment.
Reveals? As in, people are acting like this isn’t already widely known? For YEARS? pic.twitter.com/FOSuRq4F7o
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 22, 2021
— Regina King (@ReginaKing) February 22, 2021
Through its history, HFPA has rejected credentialed foreign journalists who have applied for membership over concerns that they would encroach on the territory of existing members. “Lots of members aren’t serious journalists,” one anonymous member told the Times. “We admit people that are not real journalists because they are not a threat to anyone.”
Many current members are journalists in name only and are affiliated with obscure entertainment sites. Some members aren’t even in the journalism profession. The Times reported that members include Chinese-born actress Lisa Lu, who had a role in Crazy Rich Asians, and Margaret Gardiner, a former Miss Universe winner who hails from South Africa.
The Times reported that the organization pays its own members, including five board members who received between $63,433 and $135,957 during the 2019 fiscal year. Members also received compensation for performing various activities such as watching movies as part of the group’s foreign film viewing committee and moderating press conferences.
The compensation of members is unusual for a Hollywood awards group. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t pay its Oscar voters, though the academy is unique in that it has a large full-time staff. The HFPA only has six employees.
For years, Golden Globes voters have accepted lavish studio perks without repercussions. The Times reported that Paramount Television flew more than 30 HFPA members to France in 2019 to visit the set of Emily in Paris. The trip reportedly included a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel.
The result: Emily in Paris received two Golden Globe nominations, including for best comedy series and lead actress Lily Collins.