Golden Globes group investigating member over sexual misconduct claims
The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the group behind the Golden Globes, is investigating a longtime member over claims of sexual misconduct.
The HFPA said it placed member Husam “Sam” Asi on probation Monday.
The action followed a report in the Wrap in which three women allege that Asi — who represents the United Kingdom and the Middle East for the association and is a Palestinian journalist for the BBC Arabic service — “abused their trust by turning professional situations into sexualized encounters.”
Asi, who previously provided technical support for the group’s website and has been a member of the HFPA since 2010, called the claims baseless.
“Of course, I deny them, I deny them all, they are ludicrously absurd,” he told the Times.
Asi’s attorney sent “cease and desist letters” to two of the women, accusing them of “defamatory attacks on him,” according to the publication.
James Lee, a consultant for the HFPA, confirmed that Asi had been placed on probation pending the outcome of an independent investigation.
“The matter was referred to an outside law firm,” Lee said, noting that while the process is confidential, the organization’s new bylaws specify that any member who has a sex assault or misconduct claim against them is automatically placed on probation.
“We take these conduct rules very seriously,” Lee said. “As such, any member accused of alleged sexual assault is put on probation pending the completion of an investigation by an outside law firm into the allegations.”
According to the Wrap, a former assistant claimed that Asi played pornography while she worked at his apartment and kissed her on the lips without her consent.
A second woman, a journalist, said “Asi gave her the impression he would only sponsor her to become a member of the HFPA if she had sex with him.” According to the Wrap, Asi did not sponsor the journalist.
The investigation comes as the HFPA attempts to move beyond the controversy sparked by The Times investigation last February that raised questions of ethical and financial lapses, and revealed that the then-87-member association did not have any Black members.
NBC chose not to broadcast the Golden Globes this year as the HFPA announced several reform measures, including adopting new bylaws, establishing a new code of conduct, expanding the group’s membership and opening an anonymous hotline for complaints about members.
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