Amid controversy over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s diversity and inclusion practices, among other ethical concerns, Time’s Up has released a set of recommendations aimed to “radically transform the Golden Globes.”
In the letter — addressed to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Dick Clark Productions, NBCUniversal, and Comcast and which can be read in full here — Time’s Up urges that action be taken quickly and transparently “so that a new HFPA can be in place well in advance of the start of the 2022 awards cycle.”
The notice comes after the HFPA pledged to make “transformational change” and in a statement posted to social media on Saturday evening. The embattled organization said that they would employ independent council to help reform the practices in question over the next 60 days. On Tuesday, shortly after Time’s Up shared its recommendations, the HFPA announced they’d hired expert advisors Dr. Shaun Harper and Ropes & Gray’s Alex Rene, Morey Ward, and James Dowden to head efforts.
Harper has been tapped to serve as the HFPA’s described as Strategic Diversity Advisor for the next five years.
In a statement announcing the move, the HFPA describes Harper’s responsibilities, including conducting an audit and review of the Association’s bylaws, culture, and eligibility requirements; creating and conducting a series of anti-racism and unconscious bias training for our members, and guiding the HFPA in developing and implementing a comprehensive, multi-year diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy.
The HFPA has also retained Ropes & Gray as outside counsel, saying that the firm will conduct a comprehensive review of HFPA policies, assess our membership process, operations, governance, and review our alignment with industry best practices in various areas. The firm will also be tasked to support the “continued development of a confidential reporting system for investigating alleged violations of our ethical standards and code of conduct.”
Among the list of recommendations, which is broken down into three categories (membership & governance, ethics & safety precautions and nominations & awards), Time’s Up says both the HFPA board and all existing members should resign in order to properly address concerns over diversity, inclusion and ethical standards within the organization.
“The existing management and board of HFPA have already demonstrated that they do not understand these issues,” the letter states, explaining how the current leadership should move forward to address the membership problem. “However, we recognize the need to have corporate governance mechanisms in place to implement reforms quickly. To address this, HFPA must outline and commit to a plan to move to an entirely new board that will hire new management. This plan should be announced immediately.”
As for existing members, Time’s Up recommends that they all resign and can “reapply for membership under the new criteria after one year.”
That new suggested criteria includes: that the applicant be registered with the Motion Picture Association in the international directory for at least one year prior to their application; the applicant may reside in any location; the applicant must have at least five years of credible journalistic experience and provide proof of at least 30 pieces of published coverage from within the last five year; and in order to remain in good standing, members must publish at least 10 pieces of coverage per calendar year to retain voting eligibility.
The organization also asks that the HFPA expand its ranks to a minimum of 300 members (versus its current number of 87), “in order to represent the full diversity of global entertainment journalists,” and says that lifetime memberships to the organization should no longer exist, with voting members instead reapplying for that status every 10 years.
Time’s Up also recommends major reforms to the HFPA’s nominations and awards practices, including calling for an end to exclusive HFPA press conferences and a requirement that voting members must certify that they’ve watched at least 80% of the nominated projects.
The organization also calls for a reorganization of the award season calendar, saying that “the date of the Golden Globe awards must not occur during the pre-nomination window of the Academy Awards.”
“The timing of the Golden Globes as, not only the first major award show,But coming even before nominations are made for the Oscars, has given the Globes an outsized influence on later awards and exacerbated the effects of the institutional racism and sexism of the Globes,” the letter explains. “This can be minimized by moving the schedule for the Globes, starting with 2022, as schedules are rearranged post-pandemic.
The letter concludes: “The issues with the HFPA and the Golden Globes are not new, yet have gone unaddressed by HFPA, Dick Clark Productions, NBCUniversal, and Comcast for years. It is long past time now, in 2021, to boldly address change and to make the 2022 Golden Globes fundamentally different.”
“We recognize change of this magnitude is ambitious. But fans, artists, and executives alike are watching and waiting for your commitment to the values we all seek to represent inside the industry and on behalf of its achievements to the world,” it continues. “We look forward to hearing your commitments by your designated May 6 deadline.”