Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the curator of the Golden Globes Awards, on Tuesday expelled its former president and veteran member Phil Berk after he shared racist emails with the other members on April 18, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
The Los Angeles Times first reported that Berk had shared an article titled BLM Goes Hollywood that referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “racist hate movement” and criticised the founder Patrisse Cullors’ involvement in television and film production and her decision to relocate to Los Angeles’ Topanga Canyon neighbourhood.
While he claimed to highlight Cullors’ “hypocrisy”, his actions did not go down well with other HFPA members and NBC channel, that airs the Golden Globe Awards.
On Tuesday, he was expelled after the HFPA board was pressured by the Globes’ broadcasting partner and MRC, the owner of the Globes production company Dick Clark Productions. Additionally, Globes’ diversity and inclusion advisor, Shaun Harper, resigned the same day over differences with HFPA’s legal advising team headed by Judy Smith.
The Time’s Up organisation in February 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.
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, on Tuesday.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Harper’s resignation read, “Having now learned more about the Association’s deep systemic and reputational challenges, I no longer have confidence in our ability to collaboratively deliver the transformational change that the industry and the people in it whom I deeply respect are demanding of you. My serious, unwavering commitment to the racial and gender equity issues on which I work every day make it impossible for me to continue serving in a consulting capacity with the HFPA.”