Report Raises Questions Over HFPA Ethics

The group, which was just lately sued for allegedly blocking certified journalists who apply for membership, reportedly has been paying members substantial sums to function officers and on committees.

One week to the day earlier than the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards, the group behind the ceremony is reeling from a scathing exposé within the Los Angeles Times.
There are zero Black journalists among the many 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, based on the Times, and the group — whose ethics have lengthy been questioned, courting again to an FCC investigation that led to a broadcast ban from 1968-74 and the Pia Zadora scandal of 1982 — is constant to permit its members to behave in ways in which name into query their ethics and integrity.
The HFPA is just not solely permitting its members to obtain lavish perks from the studios and networks whose initiatives they later write about and vote on, akin to a junket in France which may assist clarify latest Golden Globe nominations for the critically maligned TV sequence Emily in Paris, amongst different head-scratchers. But the group, which is ostensibly a nonprofit, can also be paying its personal members — lots of whom are struggling journalists — substantial quantities of cash to function officers and on numerous committees.
Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa filed an antitrust lawsuit in opposition to the HFPA final yr alleging that the group was depriving her of potential revenue by barring her and different certified journalists from changing into members with a purpose to shield the sale worth of present members’ reportage in numerous worldwide territories. (All HFPA members should be Los Angeles-based and supply protection for media retailers in a rustic or international locations exterior of the United States.) The go well with was dismissed, however its juicy particulars prompted many to take a better have a look at the secretive HFPA.
The Times spoke to present HFPA members who accuse the group of arbitrarily rejecting “well-credentialed international journalists” who apply for membership in favor of people that “aren’t severe journalists.” One member who was granted anonymity advised the Times, “We admit folks that aren’t actual journalists as a result of they don’t seem to be a menace to anybody.”
An HFPA spokesperson advised the Times that Flaa’s claims are “solely false,” however stated the group is “dedicated to addressing” its lack of range. This yr’s Golden Globe nominations had been slammed for omitting from its two finest image classes movies that includes primarily Black casts, akin to Da 5 Bloods, Judas and the Black Messiah, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The United States vs. Billie Holiday, and never nominating the critically acclaimed TV sequence I May Destroy You, which includes a Black cast, in any classes.
Many observers additionally had been confounded by the a number of main noms for Sia’s broadly panned and controversial movie Music and the aforementioned TV sequence Emily in Paris. While the previous stays inexplicable, the Times stories that Paramount Television flew greater than 30 HFPA members to France in 2019 to go to the set of the latter. There, they had been handled to “a two-night keep on the five-star Peninsula Paris resort, the place rooms at the moment begin at about $1,400 an evening, and a information convention and lunch on the Musée des Arts Forains, a non-public museum full of amusement rides courting to 1850 the place the show was taking pictures,” the Times reported.
While one HFPA member advised the Times that the backlash to the nominations had been warranted, the HFPA rep advised the Times that “we don’t management the person votes of our members. … We search to construct cultural understanding by means of movie and TV and acknowledge how the ability of inventive storytelling can educate folks world wide to problems with race, illustration and orientation.”
The Times additionally reported that the HFPA has been paying its personal members more and more giant quantities from an more and more giant pool of cash generated from the group’s TV cope with NBC. In the tax yr ending June 30, 2019, 5 board presents had been paid between $63,433 and $135,957. Other members are paid for serving on the HFPA’s committees and writing for its web site. Two dozen members who’re on the international movie viewing committee every acquired $3,465 to look at international movies final month. Members of a journey committee earn $2,310 a month, members of a movie pageant committee earn $1,100 a month, and members of an archives committee earn $2,200. And members who reasonable press conferences obtain $1,200 a month.
The Times spoke to tax consultants who acknowledged that any such cost is just not typical, particularly for a corporation that’s tax-exempt. It additionally famous that the TV and movie academies don’t pay their members (though the movie Academy has a workers of some 300, whereas the HFPA reportedly has simply six workers).
“We are aware of the unprecedented financial challenges going through our workers because of the results of the pandemic,” the HFPA spokesman advised the Times of the funds. “The HFPA … will proceed to compensate them for the vary of companies they supply to the group.”
The Times additional alleged that HFPA members had been among the many beneficiaries of a $125,000 emergency aid fund for journalists impacted by the pandemic that the group had arrange with the Los Angeles Press Club. The existence of the fund, considered one of many philanthropic causes supported by the HFPA, has been beforehand reported, however the truth that HFPA members themselves then utilized for aid from it has not been.
Diana Ljungaeus, the chief director of the Los Angeles Press Club, tells The Hollywood Reporter {that a} committee of members from inside its personal board judged functions solely on the deserves, and that the overwhelming majority of the recipients weren’t HFPA members. (THR’s Scott Feinberg, one of many writers of this story,  serves on the board of the Los Angeles Press Club.)
A supply near the HFPA tells The Hollywood Reporter that the group “didn’t place circumstances on who the LAPC awarded grants to aside from the situation that the cash go to journalists in want in accordance with the LAPC’s charitable mission. Like all donors to respected charitable organizations, we count on the LAPC used these funds in furtherance of their laudable charitable actions.”

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