HFPA leaders Meher Tatna, Ali Sar and Helen Hoehne at the 2021 ceremony(NBC)
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that hands out the Golden Globe Awards, committed to a sweeping “reimagination” of the organization on Monday, pledging to increase membership by 50%, hold new board elections and hire professional executive leadership.
“For the past 60 days we have worked hard to come up with a plan of action – culling ideas from the members as well as outside entities – to present a cohesive, comprehensive proposal. We have engaged in much-needed, deep introspection with the help and guidance of our outside advisors, experts in diversity and inclusion, and our media partners. Together, we have created a roadmap for transformational change in our organization,” board members said in a statement to fellow members. “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.”
The letter to members continued, “The Board, as well as our outside partners, wholeheartedly endorse this reimagination of our organization We must meet this moment, knowing that if we join together in support, we can become a better organization and, with hard work, an example of diversity, transparency and accountability in the industry for others to follow, just as our founders imagined almost 80 years ago.”
In the memo to members, the group said they would immediately establish an independent review committee consisting of “racially and ethnically diverse members” to oversee the reform. Also, the group will hold new Board election, under new Bylaws, no later than Sept. 1 — board positions are not lifetime appointments, so after two years, every member must run for reelection.
The group also revised its membership eligibility criteria and admissions process, pledging to admit at least 20 new members this year, with a “specific focus on recruiting Black members” and with a goal to increase membership by 50% over the next 18 months, as well as adding members from “other underrepresented groups in each class.” They are eliminating the Southern California residency requirement and are expanding eligibility to any qualified journalist living in the U.S. who work for a foreign publication. The previous sponsorship requirement will also be eliminated, as will restrictions on how many members will be admitted per year and how many members can be part of the organization from each territory (both of these restrictions have been a major source of contention over the past years).
The HFPA has been under fire in recent months over its lack of any Black members and deep corruption that was met with backlash from the Hollywood community, prompting Time’s Up to demand an overhaul of the organization. In response to the backlash, the group hired a diversity consultant, USC professor Shaun Harper, to address “systemic” issues, but following a meeting with Time’s Up, Harper quit. The HFPA said they would announce a set of reforms by May 6.
The group will immediately retain a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant and develop a “comprehensive” DEI strategy, as well as hire professional management staff, including a chief executive officer, chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer, a chief human resources officer and a chief financial officer by Sept. 1. Also, non-HFPA members will be eligible to serve on the board.
Lastly, HFPA members will no longer be allowed to accept promotional items, and the group will review the structure of press travel and “strengthen conflict of interest disclosures.”
Read the full letter below.
Dear Fellow Members,
These past few months have been difficult for us all, and we appreciate your understanding and
patience through this transformative period in our industry. For the past 60 days we have
worked hard to come up with a plan of action – culling ideas from the members as well as
outside entities – to present a cohesive, comprehensive proposal. We have engaged in much-
needed, deep introspection with the help and guidance of our outside advisors, experts in
diversity and inclusion, and our media partners. Together, we have created a roadmap for
transformational change in our organization.
As many of you know, in 1943, journalists from around the world, hoping to bring attention to
the importance of film in foreign markets, created the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents
Association and conceived the motto “Unity Without Discrimination of Religion or Race.”
The past year has taught us that our association has a lot of work to do to fully realize this
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. 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. Please find these recommendations ahead of our membership
meeting, where we will discuss our plan in more detail.
Foundational Pillars of Change
There are five foundational pillars of change that have informed the below recommendations.
Accountability: Fundamental, structural changes to the organization as well as
enhancing financial and ethical accountability.
Membership: Revision of membership eligibility and reaccreditation criteria, including
substantial increase in size of membership, and removing impediments to diversity.
Inclusion: Increasing racial diversity in membership and at the Board level.
Good Governance: Substantial Board, management, and committee reform.
Ethics & Transparency: High ethical and accountability standards, including a new
code of conduct, confidential reporting for internal and external parties, and new
grievance procedures with clearly defined consequences.
• The Board will take more serious measures, including but not limited to the Board
resigning, if the membership does not timely approve and implement the below reforms.
• Immediately establish independent review committee to the Board (“Accountability
Board” or “Oversight Board”) consisting of racially and ethnically diverse members who
will advise the Board and oversee critical organizational reform.
Possible members of this committee to include: representatives from the industry,
members of diverse journalistic organizations, and a DEI consultant.
• Hold new Board elections under new Bylaws no later than September 1, 2021.
• All current members will be required to meet the same standards as incoming members
for reaccreditation of their membership.
• Admit at least 20 new members in 2021, with a specific focus on recruiting Black
members and building an environment to allow for their success, and with a goal of
increasing the membership by 50% over the next 18 months. We will continue to
reassess further increases to the membership with a specific focus on recruiting Black
members and members from other underrepresented groups in each class.
• Revision of the membership eligibility criteria and admissions process.
Eliminate the Southern California residency requirement and expand eligibility to any
qualified journalist living in the U.S. who work for a foreign publication.
Expand eligibility to journalists who are members of credible media organizations
(not exclusively the MPA) and create a pipeline of racially diverse journalists.
Open membership to journalists who work in media beyond print.
Eliminate the sponsorship requirement and authorize alternative methods for
member induction, including by expanding the role of the credentials committee and
include third parties on that committee from credible journalistic and other
organizations focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Remove restrictions on the number of members admitted per year.
Re-confirm that there are no limitations on the number of members from each
Develop objective criteria governing the admissions process and involve third parties
in the decision-making process.
Publicize the modified admissions criteria on the HFPA website and at HFPA events.
Eliminate the distinction between New Members and Active Members so that New
Members receive immediate rights and privileges.
• Develop a comprehensive and long-term strategy for the recruitment of racially diverse
journalists, which will include partnerships with credible journalistic and other
organizations focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, journalism schools, and other
industry professionals whereby aspiring and early career journalists are mentored by
members of the Association with the goal of becoming members.
• Immediately retain Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant.
• Develop a comprehensive DEI strategy.
• Mandate regular implicit bias and sexual harassment trainings for all members, the first
of which DEI trainings was conducted on April 26, 2021.
• Enhance the HFPA’s philanthropic outreach, and focus its messaging on its website and
social media accounts, including during the Golden Globes and in public statements, to
enhance its existing focus on support of racially diverse and under-represented
- Good Governance
• Hire a professional management staff, including, but not limited to, a Chief Executive
Officer, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, and
Chief Financial Officer, with the goal of having the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Officer in place by September 1, 2021.
• Expand the size of the Board, create an Executive Committee of the Board, and
increase the Board’s governance authority and responsibility.
• Allow non-HFPA members to serve on the Board.
• Strengthen term limits for officers and directors; lengthen Board terms and introduce
• Emphasize the distinction between governance and management.
• Reform the committee structure.
- Ethics & Transparency
• Revise the code of conduct in the following ways:
Define prohibited behavior and add policies, procedures, and training around non-
discrimination, anti-harassment, sexual misconduct, and professional conductstandards.
Include sections governing membership and conflicts.
Tie violations of the code of conduct to the updated grievance procedure.
Set forth clear disciplinary consequences for violating policies.
Make the Code publicly available.
• Create a new confidential reporting system and grievance procedure by doing the
Immediately implement an accessible reporting mechanism for those inside and
outside the HFPA, including an anonymous, third-party hotline, easily accessible
through the HFPA website. Hotline will be open and available as soon as possible
for the reporting of past, present, and future conduct violations.
A third party will commence investigation of all hotline claims within 14 days of
Establish a clear process for determining appropriate sanctions.
Eliminate the Board and member vote required to impose sanctions on grievances
and instead rely on the findings of independent investigations and clear predefined
sanctions, including but not limited to suspension or expulsion.
Establish strong confidentiality protections and an anti-retaliation policy.
• List HFPA members on the HFPA website, along with their biographies, publications,
affiliations, and links to previous works.
• Review press conference procedures, including consulting with publicists.
• Review structure of press travel.
• No longer accept promotional items.
• Strengthen conflict of interest disclosures.
We know that the past few months have presented many challenges for our members, and we
appreciate all of the time and effort you have invested in this process thus far.
We want to be clear – these outlined changes are just the first steps in the long journey ahead.
We also know that in this existential moment for our association, change is difficult and
The Board, as well as our outside partners, wholeheartedly endorse this reimagination of our
organization. We must meet this moment, knowing that if we join together in support, we can
become a better organization and, with hard work, an example of diversity, transparency and
accountability in the industry for others to follow, just as our founders imagined almost 80 years
The Board Members of the HFPA
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