Netflix cuts ties with HFPA until ‘meaningful’ reform is implemented – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: As the beleaguered Hollywood Foreign Press Association vows to reform, Netflix has said it won’t work with the Golden Globes group until they get their act together, to say the least. .

“Like many in our industry, we await today’s announcement in the hope that you will recognize the scale of the issues the HFPA faces and provide a clear roadmap for change,” wrote Streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos on Thursday. to the board of directors of HFPA that the fidgetcube obtained.

The senior officer’s correspondence arrived on May 6 after about 75 of the 86 members of the island HFPA voted for a proposal for inclusion and review that the group’s board of directors tabled earlier this week. The HFPA has been scrambling since it was revealed just before the semi-virtual Golden Globes on February 28 that the freewheeling group had no black members. Amid a string of stumbles and criticism since, the HFPA has seen racist remarks from a former president and new diversity and inclusion adviser, Dr Shaun Harper and Supreme fixer /Scandal inspiration Judy Smith resigned in frustration last month.

HFPA reforms called “window dressing platitudes” by Time’s Up; Public relations gurus are pushing for haste

In this context and under pressure from NBC, owned by Comcast, which televises the Globes, the HFPA hoped that this week would be the time when things started to change. They may have been a little too optimistic.

“Today’s vote is an important first step,” Sarandos noted in Thursday’s letter to HFPA officials. “However, we do not believe that these proposed new policies – particularly with respect to the size and rate of membership growth – will address the systemic challenges of diversity and inclusion of the HFPA, or the lack of clear standards on how your members should operate.

“We are therefore stopping all activity with your organization until more significant changes are made.”

“We know you have many well-meaning members who want real change – and we all still have work to do to create a fair and inclusive industry,” Sarandos added in conclusion. “But Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these critical issues with urgency and rigor.”

Although calibrated and analyzed, Sarandos’ letter warning the HFPA and turning off the tap from the newspaper-led nonprofit to one of the biggest sources of talent and content must strike where it counts. wrong.

Or let’s translate that into raw math for the annual Globes, which NBC pays $ 60 million a year to broadcast: Netflix topped this year’s Golden Globe nominations among studios and streamers with 42 in total and walked away. with six wins – four for his dramatic streak The crown, as well as victories for The queen’s gambit and Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Ma Rainey’s black background. That total was triple the wins for any other distributor at the 78th annual HFPA event.

Netflix declined to comment when contacted by Deadline about Sarandos’ letter or other discussions with the HFPA. The HFPA also had no comment on this. However, well-placed sources tell me that the Globes group believe they have already addressed a number of Sarandos and Netflix concerns in their latest reform proposal.

In other conversations over the past few days and in an addendum to Sarandos’ letter, Netflix has advocated that the HFPA adopt a definable set of rewards season rules and a clear and immediate code of ethics, I hear. . Contrary to the current baffling attitude of the HFPA, with press conferences closely tied to Globe nominations, giveaways, member selfies, and other grifter-ish methods, the streamer suggested something similar to this. that AMPAS and TV Academy are doing. Such a kind of written playbook could begin to erase the stain of the HFPA in terms of transparency and governance.

As a result, Netflix also recommended that diversity and inclusion be part of the 78-year-old group’s mission statement as part of a commitment to the process of an HFPA that looks more like Hollywood. To practically expand that goal, the streamer urged the HFPA to think bigger and faster. Specifically, Netflix believes the group’s plan to add 20 new members by the end of the year and increase its total membership by 50% is too little too late. Oddly, according to the correspondence we’ve seen, Netflix is ​​referring to the process spanning three years, while the HFPA has said it won’t take more than 18 months. Nonetheless, streamer co-directed by Reed Hastings believes the HFPA should grow to over 300 members to truly embrace change and inclusion, and the time should be a few months away, not more than a year, I tell me. sources close to the talks. .

Once again, time is running out for HFPA.

Earlier today, 100 global PR firms publicly stated that they “will continue to refrain from any HFPA sanctioned event, including press conferences, unless and until such matters are cleared up. enlightened in detail with a firm commitment to a schedule that respects the looming reality of the 2022 season ”.

Now Netflix is ​​taking the approach of speaking quietly and carrying a big stick, to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt – and it could ultimately carry the weight in the world.

So, with Time’s Up, top flacks and the National Association of Black Journalists are already voicing their displeasure with the HFPA and its attempted reform, and NBC is putting pressure behind the scenes who will be next to stand up. now that Netflix has added its voice to the chorus?

Patrick Hipes of Deadline contributed to this report.

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