Hollywood Foreign Press Association Addresses Absence of Black Members During Golden Globes Broadcast

Angelique Jackson
·5-min read

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) addressed their controversial diversity issue, namely the fact that the organization currently has no Black members, during Sunday night’s broadcast.

During the show, HFPA President Ali Sar, Vice President Helen Hoehne and former President Meher Tatna addressed the issue.

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“On behalf of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate the work of artists from around the globe, we recognize we have our own work to do,” Hoehne began. “Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.

Tatna continued: “We must also ensure everyone from all underrepresented communities gets a seat at our table, and we are going to make that happen.”

“That means creating an environment where a diverse membership is the norm, not the exception,” Sar concluded. “Thank you and we look forward to a more inclusive future.”

Tatna told Variety Friday that the organization of international journalists has not had any Black members in at least 20 years.

Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler also addressed the controversy in their opening monologue, teeing up their comments with Fey joking, “We all know award shows are stupid.” Poehler quipped: “They’re all a scam invented by Big Red Carpet.”

“The point is, even with stupid things, inclusivity is important,” Fey said. “And there are no Black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. I realize HFPA, maybe you guys didn’t get the memo because your workplace is the back booth of a French McDonald’s. But, you’ve got to change that, so here’s to changing it.”

Cecil B. DeMille honoree Jane Fonda issued her own challenge for Hollywood to be leaders in the push for diversity.

“There’s a story we’ve been afraid to hear about ourselves in this industry. Let’s all of us, including the groups who decide who gets recognized, let’s all of us make an effort,” Fonda said. “Let’s all of us make an effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises, so everyone’s story has a chance to be heard. Let’s be leaders.”

Fonda also mentioned “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “One Night in Miami,” “I May Destroy You” and “Minari” as works that inspired her in the past year — including several titles that were not nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

The on-air comments came after #TimesUp launched the #TimesUpGlobes campaign on Friday, calling attention to the HFPA having zero Black members among its ranks. In a post addressing the campaign, the HFPA pledged to address the problem during Sunday’s 78th Annual Golden Globes ceremony.

“We are fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, TV, and the artists inspiring and educating them,” the HFPA stated. “We understand that we need to bring in Black members as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.”

Over the weekend, industry leaders including Golden Globe presenters Sterling K. Brown, Ava DuVernay, Bryce Dallas Howard and Susan Kelechi Watson, nominees Viola Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Mark Ruffalo and Carol Burnett Award recipient Norman Lear spoke out about the diversity disparity.

Ahead of the ceremony, DuVernay, who was tapped to introduce best musical or comedy nominee “Hamilton,” explained, “To be clear, pressure applied to the Globes and its partners from now on isn’t about validation or shiny things from this particularly group.”

“The truth that’s not often discussed is that awards play a part in the economic reality of Black filmmakers, artists of color and women creators in this business,” DuVernay continued. “Unfortunately, those shiny things matter to those who finance, greenlight, produce, distribute and market our projects. Therefore, everyone must have balanced access and consideration so that the playing field can be more equitable for artists of all kinds, colors and cultures.”

SAG-AFTRA, the Producers Guild and GLAAD also shared statements calling for change.

“GLAAD stands in solidarity with Time’s Up, Color of Change, and all who are calling on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to do better, in light of the recent news about not having any Black members for the Golden Globes in decades,” GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Though data for LGBTQ members of the HFPA has not been released, we encourage and implore the HFPA to address these loud calls for change in an intersectional way by including LGBTQ and other diverse communities. Representation matters. Accountability matters. Moving forward, the HFPA must make substantial and transparent changes to ensure that all diverse voices are represented and celebrated amongst its membership and nominees.“

Social media statements and messages of support came from across the industry, with stars like Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Amy Schumer, Poorna Jagannathan, Natasha Lyonne, Alyssa Milano and creatives including Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams adding their voices to the chorus.

Ellen Pompeo penned an open letter to the HFPA and white Hollywood, emphasizing that the responsibility to create change not be on Black people or other communities of color and asking her white colleagues to “to pull up, show up and get this issue resolved.”

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