Golden Globes are back on TV, but are reform efforts enough?
NEW YORK (AP) – Without a televised show, star-studded red carpet, presenters, press or even a live broadcast, the Golden Globe Awards were in chaos last year as scandal erupted over a lack of diversity, allegations of sexism and ethical lapses and financial among members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Once known as Hollywood’s biggest and tastiest party that regularly drew 18 million television viewers, the unveiling of the statues was reduced to a private 90-minute event with no celebrities in attendance at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Winners were announced on Twitter, often without specifying what project a person had won for.
What a difference a year can make.
After dropping the telecast in the wake of a damaging exposé by the Los Angeles Times, NBC will reopen the embattled 80-year-old Globes on Tuesday under a one-year deal, as opposed to multi-year contracts of the past. worth tens of millions of dollars.
A wave of celebrities plan to attend, along with star presenters and funnyman Jerrod Carmichael as embattled Globes controllers dig deep into the job of implementing top-down reforms.
There is now a strict code of conduct, refreshed bylaws, a gift ban and new rules on accepting travel and other benefits from the industry. The controversial press conferences were dropped and the award’s voting pool expanded beyond the 87 Los Angeles-based foreign journalists who once ruled the organization.
But are publicists, studios and other powerful players who boycotted in protest happy with the changes? And are these changes the beginning – or closer to the end?
“It’s not over yet,” said German journalist Helen Hoehne, who took over as HFPA president a year and a half ago. “We always said when we started this journey that it would be ongoing and that it would take some time.”
Kelly Bush Novak, CEO and founder of A-list public relations firm ID, said more needs to be done, but she supports the steps taken so far.
“We came together … to secure the future of Globes, in step with our culture and our shared values as an industry, and we see commendable and seismic progress,” she said. “I am optimistic that the work will continue.”
Still, Novak acknowledged that not all stakeholders are on board ahead of Tuesday’s broadcast, despite sweeping changes aimed at restoring the Globes’ luster.
Last year, publicists like Novak joined forces to fight the HFPA, and studios including Netflix and WarnerMedia severed ties with the organization after the LA Times raised questions about corruption and a range of issues of bias over race and sexual orientation.
None of the 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are black, and the group hasn’t had a black member since at least 2002.
Now, after an effort to grow and diversify its ranks, 199 people decide who gets a Globe, a mix of 96 HFPA members and outsiders brought in to dilute the power of the old guard. Membership eligibility expanded from Los Angeles to anywhere in the United States.
Heading into the telecast, Globes voters are 52% female and 51.8% racially and ethnically diverse, including 19.6% Latino, 12.1% Asian, 10.1% Black, and 10.1% Asian Middle. Voters include those who are LGBTQIA+. In total, 62 countries are represented.
The governing board was expanded from nine to 15 and includes three black members, two of whom vote on rules and other matters, but not on awards. Overall, the organization now has six black HFPA members and 14 black international non-member Globes voters.
Perhaps the most significant change: The Globes were bought by billionaire Todd Boehly, who also owns the Beverly Hilton, Globes producer Dick Clark and the Chelsea soccer team. He is moving the polling body from its founding nonprofit status to a for-profit model, pending approval from the California Attorney General. He plans to maintain the HFPA’s charitable work with a separate nonprofit entity.
A hotline managed by two independent law firms was opened, with complaints from foreigners investigated. A chief diversity officer was hired and mandatory racial sensitivity, sexual harassment and sexual orientation training was instituted for every HFPA member who casts Globe votes.
Michelle Williams, nominated for her turn on “The Fabelmans,” is among dozens of stars expected to attend Tuesday.
“I feel like the community as a whole has decided that this organization has really done a lot of work to reform itself and that we can support change, that we can hold people accountable and then support them as they continue their journey. on their way to being a better organization,” she said.
Added Judd Hirsch, nominated for the same film: “We’ll be there. We’ll give them another chance.”
Putting press conferences at the center of insensitive questions asked of talent who felt compelled to perform helped quiet some critics, but not all.
“I can’t speak for everyone. There may be a reluctance to participate,” Novak said. “We have to accept the past and we will never forget the damage done. Manifesting a new future requires that.”
Brendan Fraser, nominated for his performance in “The Whale,” will not be there on Tuesday. In 2018, Fraser said he was embraced by Philip Berk, a former president of the HFPA who is from South Africa.
Berk was expelled in 2021 after calling Black Lives Matter “a racist hate movement.”
“I just hope we can regain his trust over time,” Hoehne said of Fraser.
The same, Hoehne said, goes for Tom Cruise. Last year, he returned three Golden Globes in protest. With a best picture nod for his long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick, he was snubbed as best actor this year.
Under Boehly’s leadership, HFPA members will earn $75,000 a year as its employees, up from current salaries of closer to $5,000. They will vote on the nominations and winners among the films and television series submitted for award consideration. They will write for the organization’s website and organize other projects, the LA Times said, citing a confidential employee memo it reviewed.
The 103 new non-voting members recruited with the help of the National Association of Black Journalists, the Association of Asian American Journalists and LGBTQIA+ organizations will not be paid, creating a two-tiered structure aimed at eliminating the stigma of financial compensation as a youth . recruits come on board.
Outraged industry insiders had called for the Globes’ total voting body to be closer to 300. Other reforms aim to combat the perception of influence peddling.
As contingent paid employees, members will be subject to termination without cause. They are now required to sign a code of conduct every year covering job performance, discipline and ethical behaviour.
The 80-year-old group was stuck in its tracks, Hoehne admitted.
“We needed to question a lot of things. We had to look at these bylaws and say, okay, how can we improve them? How can we modernize the association? We had never really done it and addressed it,” she said.
Although the new salary structure has not yet been implemented, over the past year the HFPA has expelled several members it accused of violating its standards.
One was charged with forging signatures on Internal Revenue Service documents, another case related to sexual harassment and a third involved fabricating interviews that never happened, according to an HFPA spokesman.
Boehly himself acknowledged that the future is uncertain.
“I have nightmares where it doesn’t even work, you know? I understand, you can’t convince all the people all the time about anything,” he told the LA Times. “We know we have to add value and we know we have to be part of the solution.”
Associated Press writer Krysta Fauria contributed to this report.
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