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Golden Globes: Netflix and Amazon Studios Distance Themselves from HFPA

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Photo Credit: Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Los Angeles 2009, by ChildofMidnight, CC BY 3.0, Cropped

Netflix and Amazon Studios announced on Sunday that they will refrain from working with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) until the Golden Globes curator comes up with “more meaningful changes” in terms of its recent reform plans to ensure inclusivity and diversity, as per Deadline.

The HFPA announced a “reform plan” on Friday that aims at increasing its membership by 50% in the next 18 months by identifying and adding eligible people of colour, and conducting an election for the same. The outcome was that 75 members voted for the plan and three voted against it.

While Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos called the elecions “a clear roadmap for change”, he wrote in a letter on Thursday to the HFPA’s Leadership Committee, “Today’s vote is an important first step. 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 organisation until more meaningful changes are made. So we’re stopping any activities with your organisation until more meaningful changes are made, as reported by Deadline.

Following Netflix, Amazon Studios also released a statement, as per Deadline, that read, “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.”

The HFPA replied to Netflix and assured that that they were working “diligently” to solve the problem and mentioned their interest to meet with the Netflix team to work out a solution and address their issues, Deadline reported.

Netflix released its first Inclusivity Report in January that offered a peek into the workforce diversity and trends since 2017, when the idea was first conceived.

Calling it the “inclusion lens”, the report mentioned steps taken towards representation that goes beyond the screen. These include recruiting from the under-represented communities such as the Latinos, veteran employees, and Hispanics, hiring more women in the upper ranks, creating accessibility, providing equitable pay and inclusive benefits across genders, and building networks.

In terms of content representation, Netflix released a range of both films and series including Blood and WaterSelena: The SeriesDa 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which became two of the major contenders at the awards, and Never Have I Ever, with non-white protagonists in the lead roles.

The Globes came under fire by the Time’s Up organisation in February when it called out on the HFPA for its lack of diversity and inclusion after the former revealed that the latter comprises an all-white 87-member committee. Even in nominations, only six Black artists were nominated. Consequently, as a part of its “transformational changes”, the HFPA announced hiring two third-party advisors, a professor at the University of Southern California, and a firm as an independent counsel.

Shaun Harper was the USC professor who, as per The Hollywood Reporter, suggested adding 13 Black members to the existing committee ahead of the 2022 Golden Globes Awards, thereby, also bringing the total membership to 100. Smith slammed Harper for his suggestion during a meeting with Time’s Up representatives Ava DuVernay and Shonda Rhimes.

Recently, actors like Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Reese Witherspoon called out on the HFPA for its tokenistic move. Johnasson in a statement to Variety, urged Hollywood to distance itself from the journalists’ association.

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