Scarlett Johansson joins criticism of Golden Globes body amid accusations of racism and sexism

Entertainment

The Guardian 08 May, 2021 - 03:06pm 19 views

In a carefully-worded statement, the Avengers star said the “HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition.”

Johansson said that “as an actor promoting a film”, participating in the organization’s press conferences and award shows “has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment”.

The actor’s stance follows a letter from the Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos, on Friday to the organization stating that the streaming giant will not participate with the Globes unless the group pledges to reform itself.

That was followed by the Amazon Studios chief, Jennifer Salke, who said in a statement that Amazon had “not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward”.

A day earlier, about 75 of the insular HFPA’s 86 members voted for an inclusion and overhaul proposal put forward by the group’s board. In February, it was revealed that the group had no Black members. In March, a former HFPA president was found to have referred to Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement” and its co-founder Patrisse Cullors as a “self-proclaimed ‘trained Marxist.’”

In his letter, Sarandos said he’d hoped the organization “would acknowledge the breadth of issues facing the HFPA” but did not believe these proposed new policies would “tackle the HFPA’s systemic diversity and inclusion challenges”.

As a result, he said, Netflix was “stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made.”

Netflix carries considerable weight at the Golden Globes, with 42 nominations this year and six wins, including for The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Separately, nearly 100 PR firms representing the film industry said they would “continue to refrain from any HFPA sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are illuminated in detail with a firm commitment to a timeline”.

The Time’s Up president, Tina Tchen, called the organisation’s reform proposals “window-dressing platitudes”.

The HFPA has for years acted as forerunner to the Academy Awards, and in some ways is used for industry promotion and politicking for the later ceremony. But a devastating Los Angeles Times expose earlier this year, portrayed the HFPA as a pseudo-slush fund for semi-retired, foreign-credentialed and often obscure film industry reporters and critics.

Read full article at The Guardian

Scarlett Johansson Urges Hollywood to Take ‘Step Back’ from HFPA, Condemns ‘Sexist Questions’ from Members

Just Jared 08 May, 2021 - 08:00pm

Scarlett Johansson is speaking out in response to the ongoing controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is the organization behind the Golden Globes.

The HFPA came under fire before the awards show this year when it was revealed that none of the organization’s 87 members were black. Hollywood publicists, and now companies like Netflix and Amazon, have said they will withhold talent from participating in HFPA events until change is made.

The organization announced a reform plan this week, but many people in the industry are expressing concern with the proposed changes, especially since there’s no commitment to implement the changes before the 2022 Golden Globes.

Scarlett has now urged people in the industry to “step back” from the organization and she condemned the “sexist questions and remarks” made by members of the HFPA.

Click inside to read her full statement…

“As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows. In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences,” Scarlett said in a statement to Variety.

She continued, “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.”

Scarlett has been nominated for five Golden Globes during her career.

One of this year’s Golden Globe winners also spoke out in a new statement.

Golden Globes in Jeopardy, Hollywood Decries HFPA Diversity Timeline

TMZ 08 May, 2021 - 03:54pm

You mighta heard about the drama this week with the HFPA -- a non-profit made up of int'l journalists who put on (and vote for winners of) the Golden Globes each year. They've been under a barrel lately due to a major lack of diversity in their ranks -- and after coming out with a new plan to increase membership among POC ... they're still getting torched.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Netflix and Amazon spoke out over the past couple days and said ... they're not participating with anything HFPA puts on until they expedite this reform process beyond what they're already planning, which they say isn't doing nearly enough to address their issues.

The HFPA Adopts Reform Plan. https://t.co/AQ6EEClqnG pic.twitter.com/d7o7Ozp0a1

Ditto for Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo -- who are saying the same thing ... specifically calling on their peers to "step back" from HFPA (and the Golden Globes by extension).

ScarJo's statement is especially harsh, as she alludes to sexual harassment issues the org has apparently fostered over the years, even invoking the name of Harvey Weinstein.

She told Variety, "As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows. In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences."

ScaJo adds this ... “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."

If you're unfamiliar with what all the fuss is about -- HFPA was reported to have had ZERO Black members for several years now, something the hosts of this year's Globes show -- Tina Fey and Amy Poehler -- lampooned over and over during the NBC broadcast in February.

Some high-profile members even trotted out during the show and committed to "doing better" ... but their current goals are pretty weak, according to the movers and shakers, who are the lifeblood of the Globes to begin with. Without studios or talent, there's no show.

Here's what HFPA plans to do ASAP -- admit 20 new members with a focus on Black recruitment, increasing membership by 50% over 18 months, losing the "must live in SoCal" requirement, opening membership to journos beyond print, no more promo gift handouts, a stricter code of conduct for press junkets and hiring a managing staff ... like CEOs and stuff.

Sounds good on paper, but it's not up to snuff for some Hollywood heavyweights, it seems.

Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo join attacks on the Golden Globes

The A.V. Club 08 May, 2021 - 01:53pm

“Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award,” Ruffalo said in a statement last night, referencing his win for last year’s I Know This Much Is True. “It’s discouraging,” Ruffalo added, “To see the HFPA, which has gained prominence and profited handsomely from their involvement with filmmakers and actors, resist the change that is being asked of them from many of the groups that have been most disenfranchised by their culture of secrecy and exclusion.” Ruffalo’s comments mirror those from Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and many others, pretty much all of whom have condemned the organization’s stated plan to expand its membership rolls over the next 18 months as too little, too late. (The HFPA came under heavy criticism earlier this year when a Los Angeles Times report highlighted the fact that, of the less than 100 journalists that make it up, not a single one was Black.)

Johansson, meanwhile, issued a call today to “step back” from the HFPA, calling it “an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition.” As with others, she highlighted the often uncomfortable press conferences that are typically required of anyone seeking Golden Globe recognition, noting that, “In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences.” (Johansson has been nominated by the Golden Globes five times, most recently for Marriage Story.)

Ali Sar, president of the HFPA, issued a statement of his own last night, responding to the Netflix letter with promises that the body is working to address its problems, and calling for an “open dialogue” rather than outright condemnation. None of which appears to have stemmed the tide of people speaking out about the group; it remains to be seen just how radically the Golden Globes will have to change themselves in order to make up for their past failings in the eyes of the numerous industry entities they need to stay on the right side of.

Scarlett Johansson Urges Industry to ‘Step Back’ From the HFPA

Variety 08 May, 2021 - 12:31pm

By Ellise Shafer

Scarlett Johansson has spoken out against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, urging the industry to “step back” from the organization until it puts more substantial reforms in place.

Amazon Studios has also issued a statement, echoing the recent criticism from Netflix, Time’s Up and others regarding the HFPA’s latest reform plan. The plan, which was approved on Thursday, includes measures to increase the number of people of color in its membership and restrictions on gifts and payment for members’ work on committees.

In a statement to Variety on Saturday, Johansson revealed that she has shied away from HFPA press conferences due to “sexist questions and remarks,” and said that she believes the industry should distance itself from the organization unless further reforms are implemented.

“As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows. In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences,” Johansson said. “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.”

Meanwhile, Amazon Studios said that it is awaiting significant change before resuming work with the HFPA, which puts on the Golden Globes each year.

“We have not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward,” an Amazon Studios spokesperson said in a statement.

Representatives for the HFPA did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

On Friday, a group of more than 100 publicists expressed their concerns about the HFPA’s overhaul, writing: “We will continue to refrain from any HFPA sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are illuminated in detail with a firm commitment to a timeline that respects the looming 2022 season reality.”

Golden Globe winner Mark Ruffalo also chimed in on Twitter, saying that he “cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award” unless the organization “steps up.”

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos sent a letter to the HFPA’s leadership committee on Friday, which reads: “We don’t believe these proposed new policies — particularly around the size and speed of membership growth — will tackle the HFPA’s systemic diversity and inclusion challenges, or the lack of clear standards for how your members should operate. So we’re stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made. Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”

HFPA President Ali Sar responded to Sarandos’ letter, writing that the organization has “always valued our relationship with Netflix as we seek to bring news about motion pictures and television to the world. We hear your concerns about the changes our association needs to make and want to assure you that we are working diligently on all of them.”

The HFPA first came under fire in February after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that they had not had a single Black member in their ranks in over two decades. The article also detailed that the organization had paid large sums to members for serving on committees and accepted lavish junket trips. In April, the HFPA was once again hit with controversy when it was revealed that a former president, Phil Berk, had sent an email to members calling Black Lives Matter “a hate movement.” Berk was then removed from the HFPA.

Scarlett Johansson Urges “Step Back” From “Sexist” HFPA

Deadline 08 May, 2021 - 12:23pm

Johansson’s statement continues the dam breaking against HFPA, a movement that began at mid-week when Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos spoke out and said the studio would not participate in HFPA events until it revamped its organizational goals. Amazon Studios, GLAAD, The Black Journalists Assn., Time’s Up and many Hollywood publicists also have decried the HFPA’s actions.

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Golden Globes: Amazon Also Cuts Off HFPA Unless and Until Further Reforms Are Enacted

Hollywood Reporter 07 May, 2021 - 11:31pm

Jennifer Salke issued a statement about the situation on Friday night.

By Scott Feinberg

On the heels of the news that Netflix is “stopping any activities” with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the Golden Globe Awards, “until more meaningful changes are made” to the group’s demographics and ethics rules, details of which have rocked the industry since they emerged in a Feb. 21 Los Angeles Times exposé, another big streamer is publicly espousing the same stance.

“We have not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward,” Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke said in a statement on Friday night.

It remains to be seen where the standoff will go from here. The HFPA’s full membership passed sweeping reforms on Monday, which were endorsed by the organization’s broadcasting partners for the Globes telecast, NBC and Dick Clark Productions. Then letters were released from Time’s Up and the PR firms, indicating that the reforms are not enough to prevent them from continuing their boycott of HFPA events. Then NBC issued another statement, doubling-down on its position: “We believe that the plan presented charts a course for meaningful reform at the HFPA. We remain committed to encouraging the plan’s prompt implementation through productive conversations so that the HFPA can emerge a better and more inclusive organization.”

But without the participation of studios and talent, there wouldn’t be much of a telecast to speak of.

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Netflix’s Ted Sarandos To HFPA: “We’re Stopping Any Activities With Your Organization Until More Meaningful Changes Are Made”; Golden Globes Group Responds – Update

Deadline 07 May, 2021 - 07:19pm

Senior Editor, Legal & TV Critic

EXCLUSIVE: (UPDATED WITH HFPA RESPONSE) As the beleaguered Hollywood Foreign Press Association pledges to reform itself, Netflix has declared that it will not be working with the Golden Globes group until it gets its act together, to put it mildly.

“Like many in our industry, we’ve been waiting for today’s announcement in the hope that you would acknowledge the breadth of issues facing the HFPA and provide a clear roadmap for change,” the streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos wrote in a letter Thursday to the HFPA’s Leadership Committee that Deadline has obtained.

The correspondence from the top exec came on May 6 after around 75 of the insular HFPA’s 86 members voted for an inclusion and overhaul proposal the group’s board put forth at the beginning of this week. The HFPA has been scrambling since it was revealed just before February 28’s semi-virtual Golden Globes that the freewheeling group had zero Black members. Amid a series of stumbles and critiques since, the HFPA saw racially offensive remarks from a former president and newly minted Diversity and Inclusion advisor Dr. Shaun Harper and fixer supreme/Scandal inspiration Judy Smith both resign in frustration last month.

In that context and under pressure from Comcast-owned NBC, which televises the Globes, the HFPA was hoping this week would be when things started to turn around. They may have been a bit too optimistic.

“Today’s vote is an important first step,” Sarandos noted in Thursday’s letter to HFPA brass. “However, we don’t believe these proposed new policies — particularly around the size and speed of membership growth — will tackle the HFPA’s systemic diversity and inclusion challenges, or the lack of clear standards for how your members should operate.

“So we’re stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made.”

“We know that you have many well-intentioned members who want real change — and that all of us have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry,” Sarandos added in conclusion. “But Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”

While calibrated and parsed, Sarandos’ letter putting the HFPA on notice and turning off the journo-run nonprofit’s tap to one of the biggest sources of talent and content has to hit where it hurts.

Or, let’s translate that into raw math for the annual Globes ceremony, which NBC pays $60 million a year to air: Netflix dominated this year’s Golden Globes nominations among studios and streamers with 42 overall and came away with six wins — four for its drama series The Crown, along with wins for The Queen’s Gambit and Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. That total was triple the wins from any other distributor at the HFPA’s 78th annual event.

Netflix declined to comment when contacted by Deadline about Sarandos’ letter, or other discussions with the HFPA.

The HFPA did respond (eventually), in their own way.

“We hear your concerns about the changes our association needs to make and want to assure you that we are working diligently on all of them,” current HFPA president Ali Sar wrote to Sarandos later Friday. “We would love to meet with you and your team so we can review the very specific actions that are already in the works,” he added. “An open dialogue would help to ensure that we are addressing these concerns as quickly as possible.” Sar then went on to challenge several of Sarandos and Netflix’s claims about the state of the organization and its reforms – Read the full HFPA response below.

In other conversations over the past few days and in an addendum to Sarandos’ letter, Netflix has advocated that the HFPA adopted a definable set of awards-season rules and a clear and immediate code of ethics, I hear. Unlike the current nonplussed attitude the HFPA takes, with press conferences closely connected to Globes nominations, gifts, member selfies, and other grifter-ish methods, the streamer has suggested something similar to what AMPAS and the TV Academy do. Such a written-down playbook of sorts could begin to wash off the taint the HFPA has in terms of transparency and governance.

Accordingly, Netflix has also recommended that diversity and inclusion be part of the 78-year-old group’s mission statement as part of a commitment to the process of an HFPA that looks more like Hollywood. To enlarge that aim practically, the streamer has urged the HFPA to think bigger and faster. Specifically, Netflix believes the group’s plan to add 20 new members by the end of the year and fatten up its total membership by 50% is too little too late. Oddly, according to correspondence we have seen, Netflix refer to the process occurring over three years, while the HFPA has said it will take no longer than 18 months. Nonetheless, streamer co-run by Reed Hastings feels the HFPA should grow to more than 300 members to truly enact change and inclusion, and that the timing should be in a matter of months, not over a year, sources close to the talks tell me.

Once again, the clock is ticking for the HFPA.

Earlier today 100 global PR firms said publicly that they would “continue to refrain from any HFPA sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are illuminated in detail with a firm commitment to a timeline that respects the looming 2022 season reality.”

Now Netflix is taking the speak-softly-and-carry-a-big- stick approach, to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt – and that may carry all the weight in the world, finally.

So, with Time’s Up, top flacks and the National Association of Black Journalists all already expressing their displeasure with the HFPA and its attempt at reform, and NBC putting the pressure on behind the scenes, who will be next to stand up now that Netflix has added its voice to the chorus?

We have always valued our relationship with Netflix as we seek to bring news about motion pictures and television to the world. We hear your concerns about the changes our association needs to make and want to assure you that we are working diligently on all of them. We can assure you that our plan reflects input from our supporters and critics alike, and we truly believe that our plan will drive meaningful reform and inclusion within our Association and in a way that the entire industry can be proud of. We are proud that our plan was overwhelmingly approved by more than 90 percent of the membership—there is no question the membership is embracing this opportunity.

We would love to meet with you and your team so we can review the very specific actions that are already in the works. An open dialogue would help to ensure that we are addressing these concerns as quickly as possible.

Also, we wanted to take the opportunity below to address several issues that you raised and to clarify some misinformation.

· Diversity and inclusion is at the core of our reform plan and is one of our foundational pillars. We have committed to bringing on a new DEI consultant immediately, as well as a Chief Diversity Officer, to ensure that these issues permanently remain at the heart of our organization. We also are committing to a significant DEI training program for our members and staff.

· In our plan, we committed to, at a minimum, 50% growth in 18 months, not 36 months, and to reevaluating the size of our membership after the first 18 months as we grow our staff and can accommodate more members. We have also committed to expanding our professional staff.

· Our plan includes the establishment of an independent review board to help guide the implementation of our reform plan.

· Per our plan, our current members will have to comply with any and all new eligibility criteria just like our new members.

· Press conferences are not mandatory for nominations and indeed many nominated shows have never had press conferences.

· As our plan states, we are immediately evaluating our code of conduct and that revised code will address the press conference concerns you cite. The new code of conduct also will enhance our campaign protocols following strict ethical standards and best practices.

· We also are committed to meeting with the personal publicists to understand and address their concerns about the scheduling and conduct of HFPA screenings and press conferences, and to ensure that these concerns are incorporated into our new code of conduct.

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GLAAD Says HFPA Reforms 'Do Not Go Far Enough'

TheWrap 07 May, 2021 - 05:23pm

GLAAD has weighed in on the reforms promised by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to remake the embattled organization, saying the plans “do not go far enough” and GLAAD is demanding “more rapid change, real inclusion and true acceptance.”

“The HFPA reforms do not go far enough to ensure the organization as a place where historically marginalized communities–including the LGBTQ community–feel welcomed; especially not in time for meaningful change to take place before the 2022 awards season,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “There is a lack of transparency and accountability which still has yet to be addressed. It’s not enough for the HFPA to just say that they are working towards having a certain number of Black members. It’s time for the HFPA and the Golden Globes to truly reflect the full intersectional diversity of Hollywood. GLAAD stands alongside the Time’s Up Foundation, Color of Change, and all those who are calling for further and more rapid change, real inclusion, and true acceptance.”

Time’s Up on Friday slammed the HFPA’s proposed reforms, calling the ideas sorely lacking and hardly transformational.”

“Sadly, the list of ‘reforms’ adopted yesterday, and endorsed by NBCUniversal and Dick Clark Productions, are sorely lacking and hardly transformational,” Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen said in a statement. “Instead, these measures ensure that the current membership of the HFPA will remain in the majority and that the next Golden Globes will be decided with the same fundamental problems that have existed for years.”  

Similarly, a group of more than 100 Hollywood publicists have pledged to continue boycotting the HFPA despite the reforms.

On Thursday, the HFPA overwhelming approved a set of sweeping reforms. In the voice vote held over Zoom, 74 of the 87 members voted to approve a proposal that would increase its membership by 50% in the next 18 months, appoint professional executive leadership and hold new board elections this fall. Three members voted no, four voted to abstain and eight were absent, according to a knowledgeable individual.

Earlier this week, the group pledged to increase membership by 50%, hold new board elections and hire professional executive leadership. The board asked for members to approve the new reforms; otherwise it would “take more serious measures, including but not limited to the Board resigning, if the membership does not timely approve and implement the below reforms.”

The HFPA has been under fire in recent months over its lack of any Black members — as well as its track record of snubbing movies and TV shows with Black creators — and deep corruption that drew backlash from the Hollywood community, prompting Time’s Up to demand an overhaul of the organization. In response to the backlash, the group hired a diversity consultant, USC professor Shaun Harper, to address “systemic” issues. But following a meeting with Time’s Up, Harper quit after he was confronted with the details of the HFPA’s problems. In addition, former HFPA president Philip Berk was expelled last month after sending an email to members with a post describing Black Lives Matter as a “hate movement.” The HFPA said it would announce a set of reforms by May 6. See the full list of reforms here.

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