Hollywood scandal explodes in open letter
The ongoing controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has exploded today with the release of an open letter signed by more than 100 US publicity firms, announcing they will advise their clients not to work with the HFPA unless urgent change is made.
The HFPA is a small, mysterious association of less than 100 members, who select the nominees and winners for the annual Golden Globes awards. Its members, mostly freelance journalists from around the world, also gain special access to top Hollywood talent for interviews and publicity opportunities.
A report published before this year's Golden Globes ceremony, amid questions about the lack of diversity among nominees, revealed not one member of the association was black.
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Three members of the HFPA took to the stage during the March 1 ceremony to address the elephant in the room, speaking vaguely about the need to do better.
Now, in a blistering open letter, Hollywood's top publicists are demanding swift action.
The letter, which was also published on The Hollywood Reporter, opens by explaining that the publicists who have signed it "represent the vast majority of artists in the entertainment industry."
It calls on the HFPA to "swiftly manifest profound and lasting change," accusing the association of "discriminatory behaviour, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption."
The letter speaks of a "seismic reckoning" in the entertainment industry, and demands "transformative change" within the HFPA.
"To reflect how urgent and necessary we feel this work is, we cannot advocate for our clients to participate in HFPA events or interviews as we await your explicit plans and timeline for transformational change," it continues.
"While we stand ready to support your good faith efforts, please know that anything less than transparent, meaningful change that respects and honours the diversity and dignity of our clients, their colleagues and our global audience will result in immediate and irreparable damage to the relationship between our agencies, our clients and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and those who sanction the institutional inquity and insular culture that currently define it.
"The eyes of the industry and those who support it are watching."
The letter comes after stars including Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Ellen Pompeo, Alyssa Milano, America Ferrera, Lupita Nyong'o, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Busy Phillips all shared social media posts taking a stand against the HFPA around the time of the Golden Globes earlier this month.
The recent Los Angeles Times investigation which found that there are no black journalists among HFPA members led to criticism that black-led projects are not getting more recognition.
One particular criticism was the lack of nominations for acclaimed HBO series I May Destroy You, created by and starring black actress and writer Michaela Cole. By contrast, critically mauled Netflix comedy Emily In Paris received two nominations - the LA Times later reported that HFPA members were treated to a luxurious Paris trip to promote the show, including "a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel, where rooms currently start at about $1,400 a night, and a news conference and lunch at the Musée des Arts Forains, a private museum filled with amusement rides dating to 1850 where the show was shooting."
Originally published as Hollywood scandal explodes in open letter