It’s no secret that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is a very divisive entity in the film and television industry. Some celebrate it, others think it is a joke. No matter what you think, the elusive organization that includes eighty members of the international press, ranging from the unknown to the truly unknown, retains its power as we are a week away from the HFPA’s 78th annual Golden Globe Awards, one of the most prominent awards ceremony in the industry.
The choice of HFPA for nominees this year has always been questionable, as they seem to be completely disconnected from the zeitgeist of Hollywood and the cultural landscape as a whole. This year’s nominees may have been the last straw as there were blatant omissions that caused more uproar than usual – especially on critically acclaimed series and films like I May Destroy You and Da 5 Bloods.
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The Los Angeles Times dug its way into the heart of the HFPA in not one, but two articles and found that even its own members question the organization’s actions.
Regarding the shortage of black members, the HFPA only had to say that they were aware of it and were “committed to addressing” it. It should be noted that the Television Academy and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the many guilds, have openly addressed the lack of diversity in Hollywood. It may move slowly, but it’s there.
Regarding criticism of the lack of black-led projects on their nomination list, an HFPA spokesman told the LA Times, “We don’t control the individual votes of our members … we try to build and recognize cultural understanding through film and television like The Force of creative storytelling can educate people around the world on issues of race, representation and orientation. “
Journalist Kjersti Flaa filed a lawsuit against the HFPA in November. She was denied membership in the organization and the HFPA was accused of having a “culture of corruption”. She even claimed that the HFPA operated like a cartel with many ethical conflicts hidden behind a “code of silence”.
The LA Times conducted their due diligence and spoke to them. more than 50 people, including publicists, executives, and current and former members, have not helped the HFPA’s reputation. This includes findings that the HFPA has made significant payments to its own members that are questionable and may conflict with Internal Revenue Service guidelines. According to the LA Times, HFPA members raised nearly $ 2 million in payments for committees and other duties in the fiscal year ended June 2020. This is twice as much as three years ago.
One of the members told the LA Times, “It’s a nice idea to take the money from NBC and use it for good causes like classes and restoring films. But the spirit now exists to milk the organization and take the money. It’s outrageous. “
An HFPA representative replied, “None of these allegations have ever been proven in court or in an investigation. [and they] Just repeat ancient tropes about the HFPA and reflect subconscious prejudices about 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 the market prices for such services.” They added that their compensation “is reviewed by a professional nonprofit compensation advisor and, if necessary, an outside attorney.”