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Understanding the HFPA controversy and why 2022 Golden Globes almost weren’t


Even for the embattled Golden Globes, the show must — and will — go on when the 79th annual awards are handed out in a “private” event on Sunday.

But whether it’s “Dune” or “King Richard” that wins Best Motion Picture — Drama, or “Licorice Pizza” or “West Side Story” that wins Best Motion Picture — Musical/Comedy, the real victor is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for pulling off the awards after a year that found the Globes at the center of some ugly controversy fueled by the HFPA’s lack of diversity and allegedly unethical practices.

Indeed, things got so messy that NBC cut its longstanding ties to air the ceremony and the likes of Tom Cruise sent his three Globes back to the HFPA. The event will not be streamed and winners will be announced on the Golden Globes website and on its social media.

Here, we break down how the Globes almost completely broke down for 2022:

What is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, known as HFPA, is a nonprofit organization comprised of journalists based in and around Los Angeles, who cover the movie business for non-US outlets, and whose roots stretch back to the 1940s, according to the Golden Globes website.

Woke Hollywood is likely to be in an uproar after the 2022 Golden Globe Award nominations were announced on Monday.
The 2022 Golden Globes will not be livestreamed, and the winners will be announced via press release.
NY Post composite/Everett Collection

LA Times exposé kicks off HFPA controversy

In February 2021, a Los Angeles Times exposé accused the HFPA of self-dealing and other unethical behavior, while questioning the legitimacy of the association. The investigation also revealed that there were no black members among the 87 international journalists — who vote on the Globes — in the organization.

Time’s Up campaigns against zero black membership in HFPA

Two days before the 2021 Golden Globes were held last February, Time’s Up launched a campaign to protest the HFPA’s lack of black membership. Among those supporting the campaign were Kerry Washington, Sterling K. Brown, Ellen Pompeo, Amy Schumer, Dakota Johnson and Laura Dern. At the awards ceremony, HFPA vice president Helen Hoehne said: “We recognize we have our own work to do. Black representation is vital. We must have black journalists in our organization.”

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do the opening monologue at the 2021 Golden Globes.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
HFPA members onstage at the 2021 Golden Globes
HFPA members address the controversy surrounding their association at the 2021 Golden Globes.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Under pressure, HFPA vows to make changes

In March 2021, the HFPA issued a statement vowing to improve its diversity efforts within the next 60 days. The association also promised to add at least 13 black members by the end of the year. Meanwhile, more than 100 global p.r. firms signed an open letter calling for reform in the organization.

HFPA member Philip Berk trashes Black Lives Matter movement

In April 2021, HFPA member and former president Philip Berk sent an email calling Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement.” After being condemned by NBC, Berk was expelled from the association.

Former HFPA president Philip Berk
Former HFPA president Philip Berk was expelled from the association after calling Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement.”
WireImage

Studios boycott the Globes

Although the HFPA unveiled a plan for diversity reform — with a specific focus on recruiting black members — in May 2021, Netflix announced it would be boycotting the Golden Globes. Amazon Studios and WarnerMedia would follow in announcing their boycott plans.

NBC skips airing the Golden Globes in 2022

On the heels of these boycott announcements, NBC announced that it would not be airing the 2022 Golden Globes. “We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” NBC said in a statement. “However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right … Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

New bylaws, board members for the HFPA

In August 2021, the HFPA voted to approve new bylaws designed to “codify measures that restructure the organization along the lines of inclusion, accountability and ethics, and greater responsiveness to the film industry and the diversity of world journalism.” In addition to the new bylaws, the association also elected new board of directors members.

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg surprisingly announced the 2022 Golden Globe nominees on Dec. 13.
REUTERS

HFPA announces that Globes will go on

Despite the ongoing controversy, the HFPA announced in October 2021 that the 2022 Golden Globes ceremony would go ahead on Jan. 9 without NBC airing them. The nominees for the awards were surprisingly announced by Snoop Dogg on Dec. 13, after others, including actress Gabrielle Union, turned the invitation down — even though the HFPA has been diversified with 21 new members.



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