AceShowbiz - The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has fired back after two of its members resigned following months of controversy over its lack of diversity. After two Golden Globes voters decided to terminate their memberships with the embattled organization over alleged "corruption" and "bullying," the HFPA released a statement to dismiss the allegations.
"At a time when the overwhelming majority of our members have chosen to be a part of change, it is disappointing that some members have decided to try and splinter our organization and sow division and doubt," the HFPA said in the statement released on late Thursday, June 17, calling out the former members' decision. Claiming that the organization has resolved to change, it added, "While some may have their own agendas, the Board and membership of the HFPA share one, common goal - passing the transformational change our organization needs."
The statement went on to read, "The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is an organization with more than 75 years of history. The amount of change that we have accomplished thus far is only the beginning. This is a crucial time for our organization, and we stand ready to collaborate with our members and outside groups to make this change a reality. We are forever grateful to the members that have decided to stay the course during this historic and trying time to help make this new era a reality for the HFPA."
Earlier Thursday, L.A. Times reported that Diederik van Hoogstraten of the Netherlands and Wenting Xu of China sent a letter of resignation to the HFPA leadership. The two overseas journalists said in their letter that the HFPA is a place where "bullying of members by members is left unquestioned and unpunished. The badgering of talent and publicists: ditto."
Van Hoogstraten and Xu also called out the practice of doling out large fees to members for serving on committees. "Payments for internal jobs have skyrocketed lately. Morally and fiscally this self-dealing and sense of entitlement is a scandal in and of itself. But the lack of transparency goes beyond just the financials: since February most decision-making has happened behind closed doors," they wrote.
Alleging that the organization is reluctant to make transformative changes, they added, "The majority of the membership resists transformative change. Internal opposition to the status quo has been stifled, and critical voices such as ours have largely been ignored." They summarized the culture of the HFPA as one of "insulation, silence, fear of retribution, self dealing, corruption and verbal abuse."
The HFPA came under fire earlier this year after it was unveiled that none of its 87 members were black. In fact, the association had not had a new black member since Meher Tatna, its former president, in 2002. The reports prompted various celebrities, publicists and production houses, including Netflix, Amazon and WarnerMedia, to back away from the HFPA and the Globes. NBC also announced that it would not broadcast the 79th Golden Globe Awards ceremony in 2022.
In response to the criticism, the HFPA released a new timeline for its reforms, including the addition of 20 members this year, with a focus on adding black journalists to the group's ranks. The whole process is expected to be completed by the week of August 2.