Thursday, September 23, 2021

Netflix ‘Stopping Any Activities’ with HFPA Over Diversity Controversy

netflix

*Netflix has joined the slew of Hollywood organizations that claim to be outraged over the lack of diversity and favoritism within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos has fired off a letter to the HFPA, noting that the streaming giant is “stopping any activities” with the organization behind the Golden Globes, “until more meaningful changes are made” to the group’s demographics and ethics policies, per The Hollywood Reporter

The outlet also notes that Netflix received more nominations (42) and wins (10) than any other studio or network at the 78th Golden Globe Awards in February. The Sarandos letter came shortly after the HFPA’s membership voted in favor of “structural changes to the organization.” The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a group of mostly white journalists who conduct the Golden Globe Awards. Over the years, the group has been criticized for not watching Black films, not acknowledging Black actors and content creators and taking bribes from studios. 

“Like many in our industry, we’ve been waiting for today’s announcement in the hope that you would acknowledge the breadth of issues facing the HFPA and provide a clear roadmap for change,” Sarandos wrote in the letter obtained by Deadline. “Today’s vote is an important first step. However, we don’t believe these proposed new policies — particularly around the size and speed of membership growth — will tackle the HFPA’s systemic diversity and inclusion challenges, or the lack of clear standards for how your members should operate.”

READ MORE: HFPA Vows to Add More ‘Black and Racially Diverse Members’

Sarandos continued, “So we’re stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made. We know that you have many well-intentioned members who want real change — and that all of us have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry. But Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”

In response, HFPA President Ali Sar wrote a letter to Sarandos and said the HFPA has “always valued our relationship with Netflix as we seek to bring news about motion pictures and television to the world,” according to Deadline.

“We hear your concerns about the changes our association needs to make and want to assure you that we are working diligently on all of them,” Sar said. “We can assure you that our plan reflects input from our supporters and critics alike, and we truly believe that our plan will drive meaningful reform and inclusion within our Association and in a way that the entire industry can be proud of.”

Sar added, “We are proud that our plan was overwhelmingly approved by more than 90 percent of the membership—there is no question the membership is embracing this opportunity.”

Sar concluded by noting that “An open dialogue would help to ensure that we are addressing these concerns as quickly as possible.”

Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke has also confirmed that the company is distancing itself from the HFPA. 

“We have not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward,” Salke said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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