The Golden Globes better fix their diversity issues, or the industry might leave them behind.
According to Variety, a group of public relation agencies are advising their clients to distance themselves from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association until the organization acts on its diversifying promises.
Earlier this year, it became public knowledge that the press association behind the Golden Globe Awards, which has less than 90 members, has not had any Black members since 2002. That then brought out several complaints about the organization. For instance, celebrated Hollywood creative Shonda Rhimes shared that HFPA rejected a Bridgerton press conference until it became popular. By then, the voting for this year’s awards had closed and the show went without any Golden Globe nominations.
“HFPA rejected our press conference. Until it was a ‘surprise hit’ (Grey’s, Scandal, Murder -SURPRISE!) And yet they STILL asked me to show up in person to present at the Globes. We’re not the only ones. This is why HFPA’s house is on fire. They lit the flame w/their own ignorance,” Rhimes wrote, according to Entertainment Weekly. “And I’m the lucky one. More important: think of all the great talent and shows out there that never even got a chance.”
And I'm the lucky one. More important: think of all the great talent and shows out there that never even got a chance.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 16, 2021
Rhimes wasn’t the only one to share a negative story about the association. Director Ava DuVernay also tweeted a story.
“For the WHEN THEY SEE US/ HFPA press conference, less than 20 of them showed up,” she wrote. “Based on the quality of their questions, I jokingly asked, ‘Have any of you seen the series?’ Crickets. More came in the room when the pix were to be taken, at which time two peddled their scripts.”
In response to the growing complaints, the organization released a letter last week to Hollywood publicists stating its commitment to addressing the issues.
“We announced our commitment to transformational change over the weekend, as well as the hiring of two experienced, renowned advisors in Dr. Shaun Harper and Ropes & Gray… to immediately assist with the implementation of our plan,” the letter read. “We are also actively scheduling conversations with different communities, partners and advocacy groups to better educate our approach and create strong partnerships that will further serve our goals of transformational change. We know we have a lot to do, and we are committed to listening, learning and putting in the work.”
But now, it seems a new letter is being drafted. And this time, the letter is advising against working with the HFPA… at least, for now.
As Variety reports, the letter is being penned up with the support of 100 publicity firms. This includes ID, Viewpoint, The Lede Company, and more. And this is where the real weight of the situation lies. If clients under these PR agencies, which are some of the largest agencies in the industry, do not work with the journalists in the HFPA, then that organization will cease to work.
Conversely, it seems that journalists of color, and maybe LGBTQ journalists, will benefit no matter how this all plays out. Either, these PR firms will fill the gap in interviews with underrepresented journalists or underrepresented journalists will join the ranks of the HFPA. Either way, it’s a win-win.