NBC Says HFPA's Overhaul Plan Is 'an Encouraging Step in the Right Direction'

Event signage appears above the red carpet at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.
Event signage appears above the red carpet at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.
Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File (AP)

It looks like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) may be headed in the right direction—at least in the eyes of its affiliated network and production company.

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According to Deadline, the nonprofit organization of journalists and photographers behind the Golden Globes released an announcement on Monday laying out its plan to completely overhaul its 86-member group, reiterating that it wants to bring “Black and other racially diverse journalists into our organization.”

More on the plan from Deadline:

They are also pledging a lot more, including adding 20 new members over the next year and increasing their total membership by 50% in the next two years. The HFPA is also looking for a Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer and self-described oversight board to help with “critical organizational reform.” Additionally, the suddenly ambitious 78-year-old outfit says it will change the way money changes hands internally, hold members accountable, limit board terms, and bring in “a professional management staff, including, but not limited to, a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Financial Officer.”

“We know that the past few months have presented many challenges for our members, and we appreciate all of the time and effort you have invested in this process thus far,” said an unsigned letter from the HFPA board to the group’s members, outlining the changes they propose. “We want to be clear—these outlined changes are just the first steps in the long journey ahead. We also know that in this existential moment for our association, change is difficult and sometimes scary.”

“The Board, as well as our outside partners, wholeheartedly endorse this reimagination of our organization,” the correspondence goes on to say. “We must meet this moment, knowing that if we join together in support, we can become a better organization and, with hard work, an example of diversity, transparency and accountability in the industry for others to follow, just as our founders imagined almost 80 years ago.”

NBC, the network that broadcasts the Globes, and Dick Clark Productions, the company that produces the ceremony, have each issued official statements on the HFPA’s plan announcement.

“HFPA’s proposed plan is an encouraging step in the right direction,” NBCUniversal said in a statement sent to The Root. “It outlines the thorough reforms that are critical for our continued relationship, and we appreciate the commitment that it demonstrates by the association’s leadership. The organization’s swift adoption and meaningful execution of the plan in its entirety are essential for the Golden Globes to remain on NBC.”

“We are encouraged by the detailed and thorough nature of the plan unveiled today by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” Dick Clark Productions added in a statement sent to The Root. “We are hopeful the members commit to this and the actions necessary to build a transparent and inclusive future, which will have a tremendous impact on the organization and the art they honor.”

Late last month, the status of HFPA’s public relations and legal team was reportedly up in the air after a racist email by former president Philip Berk’s leaked to the press. Shortly following that leak, the HFPA’s crisis management expert Judy Smith and its diversity and inclusion (D&I) adviser Dr. Shaun Harper parted ways with the organization.

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While The Root reached out to the HFPA’s public relations firm Sunshine Sachs at the time and are still awaiting comment, Deadline reports the organization’s law firm Ropes & Gray assisted in its latest memo regarding the overhaul plan, so at the very least, it looks like its legal team is still on board. We’ll keep you posted on further developments as we’re made aware of them.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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