Tom Cruise has handed back his three Golden Globes in protest at a lack of diversity among the body that runs the glittering annual Hollywood awards.
He is the latest star to join a growing chorus of criticism. NBC, which has aired the event since 1996, has said it won’t broadcast the ceremony next year.
NBC said it wanted to see “meaningful reform” from the organisers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Time’s Up, a leading advocate for industry reform, described NBC’s move as a “defining moment for Hollywood”.
WarnerMedia, Netflix and Amazon Studios are also refusing to participate in HFPA-related events. ,
The HFPA, whose members vote on the awards, has faced months of criticism stemming from a Los Angeles Times report back in February that revealed it had not had a single black member for 20 years.
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On Tuesday, the HFPA published a timeline of reforms, saying it wanted to implement “transformational changes as quickly – and as thoughtfully – as possible”, adding that “systemic reform… is long overdue”.
It added that it was committed “to achieving these goals with extreme urgency”.
The plans will widen the HFPA’s membership, with an emphasis on recruiting black members and the hiring of diversity advisers. It has pledged to increase its membership by 50% over the next 18 months.
The association also indicated it would loosen its cloak of secrecy and strict admission rules by publishing its membership list and accepting foreign entertainment journalists who are based across the US, not just in California.
Diversity, equity and inclusion training will be given to all members, as well as sexual harassment awareness training. And members will be barred from accepting promotional items from film and TV studios.
What has the response been?
Time’s Up described the proposals as “window-dressing platitudes”.
“Any organisation or sponsors that set themselves up to pass judgement on our vibrant community of creators and talent must do better,” said Time’s Up president Tina Tchen.
Scarlett Johansson, who has been nominated for five Golden Globes, has urged others in the film industry to boycott the organisation unless it makes significant internal changes.
The 36-year-old recalled facing “sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment”.
Her Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo wrote that the HFPA’s reforms were “discouraging”.
“Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past,” he said. “Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award.”
What are critics asking for?
The main issues appears to be that the implementation of changes isn’t fast enough.
According to Variety, organisations will continue to boycott the Globes and other HFPA events until the reforms are actually enacted.
The timeline published by the HFPA states that a new board and new members will be in place by the first week of August.
In a statement on Monday, NBC said: “Change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes.
“Assuming the organisation executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
The TV network’s decision also follows a steep drop in viewing figures for the Globes, which hit a 13-year low this year. That is a trend for film award shows in general – particularly during the pandemic, with many ceremonies eschewing the red carpet and conducting their events virtually.
‘Why the sudden shock?’
Sam Asi, who works for BBC Arabic and is a member of the HFPA, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he found it “bizarre” that Hollywood was “suddenly shocked” about the lack of black members of the HFPA “when this has been the case for 20 years”.
“HFPA members are seen every day by Hollywood talent, executives and publicists… why the sudden shock?”
He added: “Once the tide turned against the HFPA, everyone wanted to jump on the wagon and benefit from it. It’s a political game.”
He said publicists had told him privately that they knew they also lacked diversity in their field and said he had been in Hollywood for 15 years but had never met a black publicist.
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In February Chadwick Boseman was awarded a posthumous Golden Globe for his performance as a jazz musician in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Yahoo News