NBC cancels next year’s Golden Globes for lack of diversity

Cancellation could have serious ramifications for Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which relies heavily on television rights for funding.

Sean Penn on stage at a pared-down Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills in February [File: HFPA via AFP]

US television network NBC has announced it would drop its broadcast of the Golden Globes ceremony in 2022 after a Hollywood backlash over the ethics of the group that hands out the annual awards for film and television and its lack of diversity.

Actor Tom Cruise joined a revolt led by streaming platforms and studios, returning the three Golden Globes he won for his roles in Jerry Maguire, Magnolia and Born on the Fourth of July, industry media outlets Variety and Deadline Hollywood reported.

NBC’s announcement of its decision on Monday came even after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which hands out the awards, agreed to recruit more Black members and make other changes over the next 18 months. The network had initially welcomed the plan but later said it would wait to see if the reforms worked.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been under fire for months following widespread allegations of racism, sexism, bullying and corruption among its ranks.

HFPA members have also been accused of soliciting favours from celebrities and studios.

“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,” NBC said in a statement.

“Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023,” the network added.

Chloe Zhao won Best Director at this year’s Golden Globes, the first Asian woman to win the award [File: Peter Kramer/NBC via Reuters]

After NBC’s announcement, the HFPA said implementing “transformational change” remained an urgent priority “regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes”.

In a statement, the HFPA reiterated its planned reforms and gave a detailed timetable.

It said that by August 2021, it would hire a new chief executive, add 20 new members, approve a new code of conduct and provide diversity and sexual harassment training among other steps.

Last week, the group approved a raft of reforms to become “more inclusive and diverse” by an “overwhelming” margin, hoping to draw a line under months of negative publicity.

But critics, including stars Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, said the changes did not go far enough and failed to address some of the industry’s most fundamental grievances.

Potentially fatal blow

The annual Golden Globes ceremony, attended by A-list stars and industry executives, has become one of the biggest Hollywood awards shows in the run-up to the Oscars.

But it has been under close scrutiny following an investigation published in February by the Los Angeles Times newspaper that showed the group of 87 journalists, which includes bona fide reporters at big international publications as well as semi-retired and obscure individuals who rarely work for any mainstream media, had no Black members.

NBC’s cancellation is a potentially fatal blow to the awards and the organisation itself, which relies heavily on the Globes’ television rights for its funding, and comes days after Netflix and Amazon Studios said they would not work with the HFPA until more “meaningful” and “significant” changes were made.

Johansson, star of  Lost in Translation and the Marvel superhero franchise, said over the weekend she had “refused to participate” in HFPA press conferences for years due to “sexist questions and remarks” that “bordered on sexual harassment”.

The Globes has been under pressure after a Los Angeles Times investigation into the HFPA found it had no Black members [File: Valerie Macon/ AFP]

Ruffalo recently said he “cannot feel proud or happy” about winning a recent Golden Globe from a group with a “culture of secrecy and exclusion” that continues to “resist the change that is being asked from them”.

The National Association of Black Journalists, a group of more than 100 Hollywood publicists, multiple movie industry unions, Time’s Up, and the LGBTQ charity GLAAD have also condemned the group.

WarnerMedia, which includes cable channel HBO and movie studio Warner Bros, said in a letter to the HFPA that it was concerned about “racially insensitive, sexist and homophobic questions” at press conferences and events during the Golden Globe nominations and awards process.

“For far too long, demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests have been made to our teams and to others across the industry,” the WarnerMedia letter said.

Source: News Agencies