“We are not a racist organization”: members of the Golden Globes strike back

POLÉMIC – Charged with racism, sexism and corruption, the leadership of the Golden Globes is being let down on all sides, the NBC channel having decided not to broadcast the ceremony next year. In the columns of “Variety”, several of its members denounce the “hypocrisy” of their accusers. Without mea culpa, quite the contrary …

It’s heating up in Hollywood! After 77 years of existence, the Golden Globes ceremony may be forced to bow out. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HPA), the association of correspondents of the foreign press which has organized it continuously since 1944, has been in the sights of the film industry since the publication at the end of February of an investigation by the Los Angeles Times. We learned, among other things, that no black journalist was among its 87 members and that recurring suspicions of corruption hung over the methods of nominating films and talents.

Despite the announcement of a reform to strengthen diversity and transparency, platforms like Netflix and Amazon and stars like Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo have called for a boycott of the ceremony. And while Tom Cruise has decided to return the three statuettes gleaned over the course of his career, the NBC channel announced on Monday its decision not to broadcast the ceremony next year, when it had re-engaged in 2018 at height of $ 60 million per year for eight years. This great evening, which often foreshadows the result of the Oscars, has it fizzled out?

Victims of “political correctness”?

On the side of the HPA, we are actively seeking a way out of the crisis. And if Variety reveals that its members have been ordered not to speak to the press, several of them decided to override and to express themselves, with borderline remarks, on the magazine’s website. Asked about the absence of black journalists, an anonymous member of the association ensures that the information has been public since 2013. And that no one, so far, had taken offense. “They’ve known us for 30, 40, sometimes 50 years. How is that a surprise?”

“Maybe we are too self-centered, and we don’t think enough about the politically correct climate in this country.”, continues this member of the HPA, an association composed for the majority of correspondents of the European press in Hollywood, for some retired. “We are not a racist organization. This is the country that is racist. Point the finger at us now by saying, ‘you should have 13% black members, that’s ridiculous!’

We don’t have people who have black skin for one simple reason: no one stepped forward– Judy Solomon, former President of the Golden Globes

President of the Golden Globes in the 1980s, Israeli journalist Judy Solomon, 89, speaks openly and accuses the press of “jump on the HPA and enjoy it”, without giving it time to reform. Regarding the diversity of members, she explains, in her own way: “we have Chinese, we have Japanese (…) But we don’t have people who have black skin for a simple reason: nobody volunteered”.

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HPA members also denounce “hypocrisy” of their accusers, and in particular of the hundred or so press relations agencies who have decided to attack them, stressing that they are not necessarily irreproachable in terms of diversity in their workforce. In Variety, these same agencies say they have been asking the leadership of the Golden Globes to reform for years, to no avail.

“The HPA is clearly trying to shy away from the real problem and its responsibility”, regrets Jackie Bazan, the boss of the agency BazanPR & BazanEd. “But nothing can defend the decades of systemic racism, sexism, denigration and homophobia that this organization has allowed for too long.”, she adds, believing that the Golden Globes have “made and undone careers” all in “raising millions of dollars”. Atmosphere…

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“We are not a racist organization”: members of the Golden Globes strike back

Hank Gilbert