HFPA Members Approve Operational Changes Amid Diversity Lapses

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the annual Golden Globe Awards, approved a sweeping list of operational and structural changes today aimed at addressing a lack of diversity among their ranks, including an absence of any Black members.

The HFPA board shared the overhaul plan with the organization's rank-and-file on Monday, ahead of the Thursday vote. Among the changes on tap is the addition of 20 members this year, with a focus on adding Black journalists to the group's ranks.

The plan also calls for a 50% membership increase over the next 18 months, with an accompanying loosening of membership requirements to open the organization to a wider array of journalists.

In a letter sent to members on Monday, HFPA board members acknowledged that the past few months -- since the lack of diversity was publicized in a series of Los Angeles Times reports -- “have been difficult for all of us.''

“We want to reaffirm our commitment to bringing Black and racially diverse members into our organization, which we feel can be accomplished by lifting many of the membership barriers, building pipelines with diverse journalist groups, and developing a long-term plan in partnership with a new chief diversity officer,'' according to the board's letter. “But beyond that we want to be clear that these changes touch every aspect of how we operate through five foundational pillars -- Accountability, Membership, Inclusion, Good Governance, and Ethics & Transparency.

“We feel positive about these changes. We believe they will lead us on the path to a brighter future for the association.''

The recommendations were based on the work of the Ropes & Gray law firm, which the HFPA hired to audit its policies and bylaws following The Times' reports.

In addition to expanding and diversifying membership, the changes also include a series of ethics and transparency measures, including a review of the organization's press travel and a ban on accepting promotional items.

Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globes telecast, and NBC, the network that airs the ceremony, both issued statements Monday in support of the proposals.

“We are hopeful the members commit to this and the actions necessary to build a transparent and inclusive future, which will have a tremendous impact on the organization and the art they honor,'' according to DCP.

Photo: Getty Images

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