The Golden Globe Awards are the next thing to possibly get canceled, ramping up the typical celebrity focus on this kind of thing all the way up to the awards show level. But this latest dustup with the show and the group behind it does point to a more serious trend in Hollywood circles and is a legitimate complaint coming from a group of folks representing some of the biggest celebrities in the game. The Golden Globes and the association that runs it are facing backlash over the lack of diversity among their members.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is the group that stages the Golden Globe Awards every year. They were recently the target of a Los Angeles Times story that discovered the group didn’t have a single black voting member. This led to a group of public relations firms to band together to issue a threat to the HFPA. In essence, they said that if the association didn’t completely change its practices, maybe even starting with the board of directors resigning, that the PR firms would hold their clients out of the next show.
Some of the PR firms threatening to boycott the Golden Globes include Rogers & Cowan/ PMK who represent actors like Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Denzel Washington among many others. The group of firms were more than 100 in all and in a letter to the HFPA offered a lengthy takedown of the group for its lack of diversity. They said, among many other things, “To reflect how urgent and necessary we feel this work is, we cannot advocate for our clients to participate in HFPA events or interviews as we await your explicit plans and timeline for transformational change.”
Included in this letter from the PR firms to the group that runs the Golden Globes was also a call out of groups NBCUniversal and Comcast who broadcast the awards show. This was, no doubt, to add extra pressure in demanding reform among the HFPA. If there was a threat their show would no longer air as well then you’d best believe change is going to come quickly.
Of course, this threat of holding out celebrities going forward does give the HFPA time to get their act together in the diversity department. This year’s Golden Globes was already held a couple of weeks ago on February 28th so we won’t see them pop up for another year or so. In the meantime, the HFPA did respond to the backlash over their lack of diversity saying they would increase their membership to 100 members and promised to have at least 13% of the group be Black journalists. Right now the group is at 87 members.
But the issue did even come up at this year’s Golden Globes with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler calling out the group for its lack of diversity and calling for change amongst its membership ranks. Whether it ends up happening remains to be seen. They have until next year to make good on their promise when it will be the airing of their 78th show. I suspect we do see a change among their group and additions of new members as promised. But these things are never set in stone. There’s some chance we continue to hear much more about this and next year might even have some empty seats at the show.