The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is getting more heat from Hollywood, with Avengers stars Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo joining in on the demand for more significant reforms from the body that awards the Golden Globes each year.
On Friday, the HFPA adopted what they referred to as a “radical” reform plan addressing months of controversy over the lack of diversity in its ranks. According to a statement, the planned reforms include increasing the HFPA’s membership by 50 percent over the next 18 months, with new members being allowed to vote on the Golden Globes.
The HFPA has a “specific focus on recruiting Black members,” as the organization currently doesn’t have any. The rest of their list of reform include: identifying a vendor to set up a hotline (in process), hiring a search firm that will put together a list of potential C-suite candidates, creating a list of DEI consultants (in process), and retaining Ropes & Gray to ensure seamless implementation of the plan. Many high-profile Hollywood figures have apparently come forward already with criticism for these measures, arguing that more substantive change is needed, the media outlet said.
First to critique the changes was advocacy group Time’s Up, who issued an ultimatum to state their reform plans in March by over 100 of the most influential PR firms in Hollywood. In a statement released on Friday, Time’s Up President and Chief Executive Tina Tchen said, “Sadly, the list of ‘reforms’ adopted yesterday, and endorsed by NBCUniversal and Dick Clark Productions, are sorely lacking and hardly transformational. Instead, these measures ensure that the current membership of the HFPA will remain in the majority and that the next Golden Globe Awards will be decided with the same fundamental problems that have existed for years. The HFPA’s list of recommendations largely contains no specifics, no commitments to real accountability or change, and no real timeline to implement these changes.” She further adds, “Even more striking is the complete silence from the HFPA about reforms to the deeply-troubled nominations and awards process.”
By Saturday, Hollywood A-listers had begun to speak out as well, like Scarlett Johannson who provided a statement to Entertainment Weekly, recalling facing “sexist questions and remarks” from HFPA members “that bordered on sexual harassment.” The Black Widow star added, “It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences. The HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition and the industry followed suit. Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole.”
Avengers costar Mark Ruffalo joined her, writing that the HFPA’s reforms were “discouraging” in a Twitter post on Friday. “Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past,” he added. “Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award.”
#ChangeIsGolden pic.twitter.com/cKCF6A7Pmm— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) May 8, 2021
After years of criticism, the HFPA’s current scandal burst open in the wake of a Los Angeles Times exposé in February detailing alleged ethical conflicts and other misconduct within the organization, as well as its diversity issues. HFPA pledged to increase transparency and diversification soon after that, bringing three members out during the 2021 telecast to publicly stress that the group would welcome Black voices into its voting base.