HFPA inducts 21 new members after ongoing controversy

Tiara Starks, Entertainment Editor

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has added 21 members, six of whom are Black, as a means to increase diversity in the organization. New members can vote on next year’s Golden Globes, and future board elections and they can serve on committees. Members will also have voting rights for 10 years.

The HFPA will publicly disclose the names, country representation and diversity demographics of its membership at the close of each member selection. The HFPA has also appointed three independent members responsible for overseeing the organization’s reform plan: Jeff Harris, Joanna Dodd Massey and Sharlette Hambrick.

“We are thrilled to welcome these new members into our family,” said HFPA President Helen Hoehne. “We are building a new organization, one that is not focused on fulfilling quotas, but instead has diversity and inclusion at its core.”

The news comes at a time when the public might consider this as damage control because of a continuous timeline of controversy regarding the organization’s lack of diversity.

The HFPA has been publicly berated for the actions it has taken. In May, news broke that NBC, the network that normally airs the Golden Globes Awards, will not be the host network for the 2022 ceremony.

This is in response to a series of “snubs” (which means a surprising loss) at the 2021 Golden Globes Ceremony. Michaela Coel’s HBO series “I May Destroy You,” was one of the “snubs” that received a lot of media attention.

A writer from a rival nominee, “Emily in Paris” published an op-ed attributing the show’s lack of honors to racial and gender inequality within the entertainment industry. The HFPA also drew criticism for the placement of “Minari” in the Best Foreign Language Film category, despite being an American film about a Korean-American family. Controversy was ignited when news hit that the Globes had a rule that any film with over 50% of its dialogue not in English would be considered a Foreign Language Film.

Industry figures have not been shy about speaking out against the organization. Deadline reported that actor Tom Cruise sent his three Globe trophies (for “Jerry Maguire,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Magnolia”) back to the HFPA in protest. Other prominent figures in the industry such as filmmaker Ava DuVernay took to Twitter to call for “balanced access and consideration” ahead of the February 2021 ceremony.

While the move toward diversity is essential, the call for action is not new. Members of the organization are now going to be put under a microscope to make sure decisions regarding voting and membership are done under protocol.