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(Credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

Following backlash, Golden Globes have made a new diversity pledge

The organisation behind the Golden Globes has pledged to include more Black members, aiming to increase the diversity of their panel and ensure that 13 per cent of its membership is Black.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association was exposed by the LA Times ahead of the 2021 ceremony. It put the spotlight on the awards and has forced the HFPA to make changes to its membership.

“Transformational change” has been promised by the committee behind the awards following the expose. The LA Times revealed that there hadn’t been a Black member of the HFPA for decades, and it cast doubt over the fairness with which the awards took place. The feature went further and suggested that the board was also involved in alleged corrupt activities too.

It has forced the HFPA to make a list of “immediate action items”, which they believe will create real change. One such measure will be “hiring an independent expert in organisational diversity, equity and inclusion to advise and guide us,” while another will see a new focus on including Black and other “underrepresented professionals” in the group. The list also noted that it would be hiring a “third-party, independent law firm to review HFPA policies” in the future.

Perhaps the most tangible action to come from the expose is the HFPA’s new commitment to adding a minimum of 13 Black members to its committee, which, according to Variety, will see membership rise to 100.

The HFPA said it was committed to “making necessary changes within our organisation and in our industry as a whole.” But also noted that its actions are largely too late.

“We also acknowledge that we should have done more, and sooner,” said the group. “As a demonstration of our commitment, the board has unanimously approved a plan to increase membership to a minimum of 100 members this year, with a requirement that at least 13 per cent of the membership be Black journalists.”

A genuine issue is that the review of the board’s actions will be heavily influenced by the board itself, causing many industry experts to hail the action list as nothing more than a publicity stunt to counteract the backlash from the LA Times expose.

Time’s Up president and CEO Tina Tchen suggested the board needed to push further towards progression: “So NBCUniversal, Dick Clark Productions, and the HFPA just declared that they have a plan to fix problems they’ve ignored for decades,” commented Tchen.

“We’re not so sure. On behalf of the many artists who look to us to hold the HFPA’s feet to the fire on the racism, disrespect, misogyny, and alleged corrupt financial dealings of the Golden Globes, we need to see specific details, timetables for change, and firm commitments. The right words are not enough. The clock is ticking.”

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