*The Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc. has announced plans to admit 20 new members this year, mostly Black, with a goal of increasing membership by 50 percent over the next two years.
The news comes after the organization’s diversity and inclusion adviser Phillip Berk was curbed after he sent out a racist email to members over the weekend. The email came hours after NBC released a statement expressing concern about the future of the Golden Globes if the HFPA didn’t handle Berk, who served eight terms as HFPA president.
Per Variety, NBC execs have been waiting on the HFPA to reveal a full plan on how to reform the organization, following backlash over a report by the Los Angeles Times that the organization does not have a single Black member. The HFPA now claims it will make significant changes, with plans to include people from “underrepresented groups” to the exclusive group of journalists. However, its primary focus is on recruiting Black members.
“For the past 60 days we have worked hard to come up with a plan of action – culling ideas from the members as well as outside entities – to present a cohesive, comprehensive proposal. We have engaged in much-needed, deep introspection with the help and guidance of our outside advisors, experts in diversity and inclusion, and our media partners. Together, we have created a roadmap for transformational change in our organization,” board members said in a statement to fellow members, per TheWrap. “We want to reaffirm our commitment to bringing Black and racially diverse members into our organization, which we feel can be accomplished by lifting many of the membership barriers, building pipelines with diverse journalist groups, and developing a long-term plan in partnership with a new Chief Diversity Officer.”
The letter to members continued, “The Board, as well as our outside partners, wholeheartedly endorse this reimagination of our organization. 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.”
In a statement, NBC, which broadcasts the annual Golden Globe Awards, said: “HFPA’s proposed plan is an encouraging step in the right direction. 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.”
Dick Clark Production, another HFPA broadcasting partner, said: “We are encouraged by the detailed and thorough nature of the plan unveiled today by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 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.”
Here’s more from Complex:
The organization plans on setting a Sept. 1 deadline on its efforts to retain a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant, and develop a “comprehensive” DEI strategy, in addition to a chief human resources officer and chief DEI officer.
The HFPA came under fire again in February when a Los Angeles Times report revealed over 30 members flew to France to visit the set of Emily in Paris where Paramount, as one member put it, “treated us like kings and queens,” covering the expenses for a two-night stay in a five-star hotel that cost $1,400 per night.
Members will no longer be allowed to accept promotional items under these new guidelines.
The HFPA is expected to officially announce these reforms on May 6.