It’s no secret that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is a very controversial entity in the film and television industry. Some celebrate them, others think it’s a joke. No matter what you think, the elusive organization which includes eighty members of the international press ranging from the unknown to the unknown, maintains its power as we are one week away from the 78th Annual HFPA Golden Globe Awards , one of the most prominent awards ceremony in the industry.
The HFPA’s choices for nominees this year have always been questionable as they seem insanely out of touch with the Hollywood times and the cultural landscape as a whole. This year’s nominees may have been the last straw, as there were glaring omissions that caused more uproar than usual – mostly with critically acclaimed series and films like I can destroy you and Da 5 bloods.
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When it came to the lack of black members, all the HFPA had to say was that they knew about it and were “determined to tackle”. It should be noted that the Academy of Television and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the many guilds, have blatantly addressed the lack of diversity in Hollywood. It may be slow, but it is there.
Regarding criticism of the lack of black-led projects in their list of nominations, a spokesperson for the HFPA told the LA Times: “We do not control the individual votes of our members … we seek to build cultural understanding through film and television and recognize how the power of creative storytelling can educate people around the world about race issues, representation and orientation. “
In November, a lawsuit against journalist Kjersti Flaa was filed against the HFPA. She was refused membership in the organization and accused the HFPA of having a “culture of corruption”. She even went on to say that the HFPA operated like a cartel with many ethical conflicts hidden behind a “code of silence”.
The LA Times did their due diligence and spoke with. over 50 people including publicists, leaders and current and former members and it did not help the reputation of the HFPA. this includes findings that the HFPA has issued substantial payments to its own members that are questionable and may conflict with Internal Revenue Service guidelines. According to LA Times, HFPA members raised nearly $ 2 million in payments for committees and other duties in the fiscal year ending June 2020. This is double the level of three years ago.
One of the members told the LA Times: “It’s a great idea to take the money from NBC and donate it to good causes like tuition and movie restoration… but there is now a spirit to milk the organization and take the money. . It’s scandalous.
A representative of the HFPA replied: “None of these allegations have ever been proven in court or in an investigation, [and they] just repeat the old tropes on the HFPA and reflect the unconscious biases against the diverse membership of the HFPA.
The organization also said, “Our compensation decisions are based on an assessment of compensation practices by similar nonprofits and market rates for these services.” They added that their compensation was “approved by a professional nonprofit compensation consultant and outside lawyer, if applicable.”