NEW YORK (AP) — Without a TV show, a star-studded red carpet, a host, press, or even a live broadcast, the Golden Globe Awards are… It was in disarray last year after a scandal about lack of diversity, accusations of sexism, and ethical and financial wrongdoings broke among members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Once known as Hollywood’s biggest and rowdiest party and regularly drawing 18 million television viewers, the gala event has been pared down to a 90-minute special. With no celebrities at the beverly hilton.
Winners were announced on Twitter, often without specifying which project the person had actually won.
What a difference each year can make.
After dumping television broadcasts in the wake of a Debunked by the Los Angeles TimesNBC will put the 80-year-old globe on hold Back on the air Tuesday on a one-year deal, versus multi-year contracts in the past worth tens of millions of dollars.
A host of celebrities are planning to attend, along with star presenters and humorous host Jerrod Carmichael. After the beleaguered observers of the globe went deeper into the work of implementing reforms from the top to the bottom.
There is now a strict code of conduct, updated bylaws, a ban on gifts and new rules for accepting travel and other perks from the industry. Controversial press conferences have been canceled, and the electorate’s prize pool has been expanded beyond the 87 Los Angeles foreign journalists who once ruled the organization.
But are the powerful publicists, studios, and other stakeholders boycotting a protest satisfied with the changes? Are these changes the beginning – or closer to the end?
“It’s not over yet,” said German journalist Helene Hoene, who has been president of the HFPA for a year and a half. “We always said when we started this journey that it was going to be continuous and it would take some time.”
More needs to be done, said Kelly Bush Novak, CEO and founder of A-list PR firm ID, but supports the steps taken so far.
“We have come together … to ensure the future of the globe, in line with our shared culture and values as an industry, and we see commendable and seismic progress,” she said. “I am optimistic that the business will continue.”
However, Novak acknowledged that not all stakeholders are on board ahead of Tuesday’s broadcast, despite sweeping changes aimed at restoring the Globe’s luster.
Last year, publicists like Novak banded together to fight the HFPA, and studios that included Netflix and WarnerMedia cut ties with the organization after the LA Times raised questions about corruption and a host of bias issues around race and sexual orientation.
None of the 87 foreign Hollywood press members were black The group has not had a black member since at least 2002.
Now, after trying to increase and diversify its ranks, 199 people have decided who will get the Globe, a mix of 96 HFPA members and outsiders from other countries brought in to dilute the power of the old guard. Membership eligibility has been expanded from Los Angeles to anywhere in the United States.
Turning to broadcast television, Globes voters stand at 52% female, 51.8% racially and ethnically diverse, including 19.6% Latino, 12.1% Asian, 10.1% Black, and 10.1% Middle Eastern. Voters also include those who identify as LGBTQIA+. In all, 62 countries were represented.
The board has been expanded from nine to 15 and includes three black members, two of whom vote on rules and other matters but not on awards. Overall, the organization now has six Black HFPA members and 14 non-member Black international Globes voters.
Perhaps the most significant change: The Globes was bought by billionaire Todd Boyley, who also owns Globes producer Dick Clark Productions and the Chelsea soccer team and is an investor in Beverly Hilton. He’s converting the voting body from its non-profit constituent status to a for-profit model, pending approval from the California Attorney General. He plans to maintain the HFPA’s philanthropy with a separate nonprofit entity.
A hotline operated by two independent law firms was opened, with complaints being investigated by third parties. A Chief Diversity Officer has been appointed, and mandatory sexual harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual orientation training, which is required for any HFPA member casting Globe votes, is put in place.
Michelle Williams, who is nominated for her role in “The Fabelmans,” is among dozens of stars who are planning to attend Tuesday.
“I feel like the community as a whole has decided that this organization has really done a lot of work to fix itself and that we can support change, we can hold people accountable and then we can support them as they continue the journey on their way to being a better organisation.
Judd Hirsch, who is nominated for the same movie, added: “We’ll be there. We’ll give them another chance.”
Throwing press conferences in the midst of insensitive questions posed to talent who felt obligated to appear helped mollify some, but not all, critics.
“I can’t speak for everyone. There may be some reluctance to get involved,” Novak said. “We must acknowledge the past and never forget the damage done. Showing a new future requires it.”
Brendan Fraser, who was nominated for his performance in “The Whale,” will not be in attendance on Tuesday. In 2018, Fraser said he was molested by Philip Burke, the former president of the HFPA who is from South Africa.
Burke is fired in 2021 After Black Lives Matter was described as a “racist hate movement”.
“I just hope we can win back his confidence with time,” Hoene said of Fraser.
Hoehne said the same is true of Tom Cruise. Last year, he brought back his three Golden Globe Awards in protest. With the Best Picture nod for the long-awaited “Top Gun: Maverick” sequel, the Best Actor award was snubbed this year.
Under Boehly’s leadership, HFPA members would earn $75,000 annually as his employees, as opposed to current salaries of close to $5,000. They will vote on the nominations and winners among the films and TV series submitted for awards consideration. They will write for the organization’s website, and organize other projects, the Los Angeles Times said, citing a confidential employee memo I reviewed.
The 103 new non-members recruited with the help of the National Association of Black Journalists, the Association of Asian American Journalists, and LGBTQIA+ organizations will be paid no wages, creating a two-tiered structure intended to eliminate financial compensation as more of a novelty. Recruits on board.
Angry industry stakeholders have called for the Globe’s voting body to be closer to 300. Other reforms aim to combat the perception of pervasive influence.
As ultimately paid employees, members will be subject to firing without cause. They are now required to sign a code of conduct each year covering job performance, decency and ethical behaviour.
The 80-year-old group was stuck in their ways, Howen admitted.
“We needed to question a lot of things. We needed to look at these regulations and say, OK, how can we improve them? How can we modernize the association? We’ve never done that and we haven’t addressed it.”
Although the new pay structure has yet to be implemented, over the past year the HFPA has fired several members it accused of violating its standards.
One has been charged with forging signatures on Internal Revenue Service documents, another case of sexual harassment and a third of fabricating interviews that didn’t happen, according to a HFPA spokesperson.
Bohle himself admitted that the future was uncertain.
“I have nightmares where you don’t work too, you know? I get it, you can’t convince all the people all the time of anything,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “We know we have to add value and we know we have to be part of the solution.”
Associated Press writer Krista Forea contributed to this report.
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