Scarlett Johansson has spoken out against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the body that organizes the Golden Globe awards, one of Hollywood’s top awards shows) for tolerating sexism and racism. She also urged others in the film industry to boycott the organization unless profound and lasting changes were made. 

Scarlett is not alone in this though. Actors like Mark Ruffalo, advocacy groups, and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon have echoed the same condemnation over the organization’s lack of diversity and transparency. 


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In a carefully worded statement, she stated that as an actor participating in the awards shows, she had to attend press conferences where she often faced sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members bordered on sexual harassment, admitting that it was this very reason that she avoided their conferences. 

She then added that it was high time the industry united and took a step back from the HFPA to pressure them into making longstanding changes. 

HFPA Promised Change

The HFPA is a coterie of 90 international entertainment journalists who disseminate information about the entertainment industry in the U.S. to the world through their various publications. Every year, they select the Golden Globe Awards winners — the second most prestigious film event after the Oscars. 

Earlier this year, according to LA Times, it was revealed that the group had no black members. This is not surprising given that the Golden Globes has been frequently criticized for its history of overlooking black and minority-led films and television series. 

An investigation also found that the members regularly received perks and favors for support or votes in nominating or awarding a particular film. The board came under fire for these allegations, and various PR and media houses have spoken out for a boycott. 

The Golden Globes award show is the HFPA’s most high-profile and lucrative event, and an industry boycott would be devastating for them. On March 7, the board pledged to unveil a slate of reforms aimed at “transformational change.”

Among other measures, the group promised to create transparency and fair policies in their operations, voting processes, eligibility, and membership; and hire an independent equity, diversity, and inclusion consultant who would audit the bylaws and membership requirements to achieve diversity. 

Fails to Deliver Promise

HFPA was set to reveal their effort on May 6, but 2 weeks before the D-Day, during a Zoom conversation (a precursor to the reveal), things did not go well. The publicists and advocates were expecting a first look at the amendments, instead, the HFPA intermediaries were “ill-prepared and misinformed.”

The HFPA’s intermediaries were heard calling the HFPA’s previously announced proposal to add 13 Black members, a “racist quota,” during the call. Later that day, Shaun Harper, the diversity strategist and attorney from 'Ropes & Gray' hired to help manage the crisis, resigned. 

It was clear from the unproductive meeting that HFPA was struggling with the reforms.