Golden Globes group taps new diversity, ethics and legal consultants as pressure to reform mounts

A closeup of closely packed rows of Golden Globe statuettes.
Statuettes are on display at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, venue for the Golden Globe Awards, in January 2009.
(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Thursday announced it had hired diversity and ethics consultants as well as outside legal advisors in its continued efforts at reform.

The HFPA, the voting group behind the Golden Globe Awards, first pledged it was committed to “transformational change” in March following the Feb. 21 publication of an L.A. Times investigation that detailed allegations of ethical lapses and financial improprieties and revealed that the 86-member organization of international journalists had no Black members.

After months of intensifying controversy, NBC announced on May 10 that it would not air the Golden Globes in 2022. The decision followed a boycott by a powerful contingent of publicists and announcements by Netflix, Amazon and Warner Media that they were cutting ties with the HFPA unless significant reform was in place.


This week, the HFPA hired two law firms to independently investigate incidents, complaints or allegations reported to a dedicated complaint hotline.

Hollywood players continue to back away from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., with Warner Bros. joining Netflix and Amazon Studios in cutting ties.

May 10, 2021

The firms are the Los Angeles-based Kendall Brill & Kelly, which specializes in investigating workplace misconduct, fraud, waste and corruption; and Ramsey & Ehrlich, a Berkeley-based firm with experience investigating whistleblower complaints and allegations of racial discrimination and organizational misconduct.

Last week, the association hired Convercent, a Colorado-based software company that designs and implements compliance programs, to work on the hotline, which is expected to be operational around June 1, according to the organization.

Additionally, the HFPA has hired Cambridge, Mass.-based Leadership Lab International, the group’s new diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant. The HFPA will pay Leadership Lab International $725,700 for 12 months, plus expenses, according to a copy of the firm’s budget document for the group reviewed by The Times.

In April, Shaun Harper, a professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business tapped as the association’s first diversity strategist, quit just two weeks before the HFPA announced its slate of reforms.


“Our progress towards reform is continuing, as this week we have put two more key pieces in place that will help lead the transformational changes that we promised less than a month ago. We said on May 6th that we would move swiftly to show our commitment to reform and that we would regularly update the industry on our progress with our timeline,” the board said in a statement.

“These announcements cover three key tenets of our reform plan — accountability, ethics and transparency, and inclusion. There is still more work to be done. As we continue to move forward with our timeline, we are confident that these changes will create a diverse, respectful, and transparent environment not only for new and old members of the HFPA, but for our partners in the industry who interact with the Association.”

Last week, the HFPA approved a new code of professional and ethical conduct.

The HFPA is expected to vote on a set of new bylaws in July.

The HFPA has come under pressure for not having any Black members as well as allegations of ethical and financial lapses raised in a Times investigation.

April 21, 2021