Golden Globes group announces partnership with NAACP
In its latest step to address the ongoing firestorm that has threatened the future of the Golden Globe Awards, the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Assn announced Thursday that it has forged a five-year collaborative partnership with the NAACP.
The partnership is aimed at tackling issues of diversity and equity both within the organization and across the entertainment industry.
The collaboration, which the organizations are calling the Reimagine Coalition, comes as the HFPA, the tiny but improbably powerful group of foreign entertainments journalists that hands out the coveted Golden Globes, is working to undertake reforms following months of controversy.
Although the HFPA has long included members from countries around the world, until the announcement last week of its largest-ever class of new invitees, including six Black journalists, it had not had a single Black member for more than two decades.
After that fact was highlighted in a Feb. 21 Times investigation, along with a range of issues regarding the group’s governance and its financial and journalistic practices, the HFPA drew a wave of condemnation and a boycott from Hollywood studios and stars that eventually forced NBC to pull the plug on the Globes for 2022. The organization has long faced accusations of overlooking Black-led projects.
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.
Under the new partnership, executives at the HFPA will hold monthly meetings with the NAACP to review progress on its diversity initiatives, which will include supporting scholarships, internships and mentorship for people of color who want to pursue careers in entertainment and journalism and holding a series of roundtable discussions around issues of inclusion.
The HFPA will also work with the NAACP to help restore and preserve Black films as well as footage from the NAACP’s own archives and foster connections with the Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood, and African diaspora cinema.
“We have not only worked to reimagine our structure at the HFPA, but also our role as an association — using our platform to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry,” HFPA President Helen Hoehne said in a statement. “This collaboration is so much more than reform; this is an opportunity to make long lasting change on a global scale. We’re honored that NAACP Hollywood shares this long-term vision with us, and we encourage all of our partners in the industry to join us in tackling these issues head on.”
The partnership is the result of months of conversations between the HFPA and the NAACP. In September, the organizations signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the framework for its collaboration.
“This partnership — over five years — is a signal to the industry that we’re not interested in short term fixes — we’re committed to changing the narrative and tackling disparities in the industry from every angle,” NAACP President and Chief Executive Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “Over the next several years through this partnership, we can build pathways to inclusion to support future generations of Black artists and artists of color. We can’t wait to get to work.”
Despite recent steps the HFPA has taken to remake itself, including approving a new set of bylaws and expanding its leadership to include non-members, many in the industry remain skeptical that the group, which vowed to undertake reforms in the past following other scandals, is truly determined to change. The reform process itself has been marked by conflict within the notoriously fractious group and punctuated by a string of public relations crises.
In April, a newly hired diversity consultant brought on to help the organization address its diversity issues quit just days after an email leaked in which former HFPA President Phil Berk likened Black Lives Matter to a hate group.
Though some within the organization have expressed hopes that the show could be resurrected in 2022, talent publicists, studios and networks have continued to hold the HFPA at a distance. A source familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly told The Times last week that NBC is sticking to its decision not to air the show next year.
Having pushed the HFPA to undertake reforms, many in Hollywood and beyond are watching to see whether the group’s commitments translate into meaningful action.
“The NAACP applauds our advocacy allies for pressing HFPA to commit to internal reforms, and we now welcome HFPA as a partner in the larger agenda to realize equity and inclusion throughout Hollywood,” Kyle Bowser, senior vice president of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, said in a statement. “The emerging spirit of racial reckoning must move beyond the convenience of condemning individual transgressors, toward a collective will to redesign the ecosystem that has nurtured a legacy of systemic discrimination and oppression.”
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