EXCLUSIVE: When the beleaguered Hollywood Foreign Press Association pledges to reform itself, Netflix has stated that it will not partner with the Golden Globes group until it has teamed up, to say the least.
“Like many in our industry, we waited for today’s announcement in the hope that you would recognize the breadth of problems faced by the HFPA and provide a clear roadmap for change,” wrote Ted Sarandos, Co-CEO of the Streamers, in a letter on Thursday to the HFPA Leadership Committee, received the deadline.
The top executive correspondence came on May 6 after around 75 of the island’s 86 members voted for a proposal to include and revise the group’s board earlier this week. The HFPA has been in a mess since it became known just before the semi-virtual Golden Globes on February 28 that the free-running group had no black members. Amid a string of stumbling blocks and criticisms, the HFPA last month picked up racially offensive remarks by a former president and newly minted Diversity and Inclusion Advisor Dr. Shaun Harper, and top / scandalous fixer inspiration Judy Smith, both resigned in frustration.
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With that in mind, and under pressure from Comcast’s own NBC, which televises the Globes, the HFPA was hoping things would change this week. You may have been a little too optimistic.
“Today’s vote is an important first step,” said Sarandos in Thursday’s letter to HFPA Brass. “However, we do not believe that these proposed new guidelines – particularly those related to the size and speed of membership growth – will address the HFPA’s challenges in terms of systemic diversity and inclusion or the lack of clear standards for how its members operate.
“So we stop all activity with your company until more meaningful changes are made.”
“We know that you have many well-meaning members who want real change – and that we all have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry,” concluded Sarandos. “But Netflix and many of the talent and developers we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these critical issues with urgency and accuracy.”
While it is being calibrated and analyzed, Sarandos’ letter notifying the HFPA and turning the nonprofit’s tap on one of the greatest sources of talent and content must get where it hurts.
Or let’s translate that into raw math for the annual Globes ceremony, which NBC pays $ 60 million a year for: Netflix dominated this year’s Golden Globes nominations among studios and streamers with a total of 42, scoring six wins – four for his drama series The Crown, along with wins for The Queen’s Gambit and Chadwick Boseman’s appearance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. That sum was three times the profits of all other distributors at the HFPA’s 78th annual event.
Netflix declined to comment when . contacted Sarandos’ letter or other conversations with the HFPA. The HFPA also had no comment on the matter. Well-positioned sources tell me, however, that the Globes Group believes they have already addressed a number of Sarandos and Netflix concerns in their latest reform proposal.
In other conversations over the past few days and in an addendum to Sarandos’ letter, Netflix has advocated the HFPA adopting a definable set of rules for the award season and a clear and immediate code of ethics, I hear. Contrary to the HFPA’s current baffled stance, the streamer has suggested something similar to AMPAS and the TV academy with press conferences closely tied to nominations, gifts, member selfies, and other grifter methods. Such a written-down playbook could begin to wash away the HFPA’s taint of transparency and governance.
Accordingly, Netflix has also recommended that diversity and inclusion be part of the mission statement of the 78-year-old group to get involved in the process of an HFPA that looks more like Hollywood. To practically extend that goal, the streamer asked the HFPA to think bigger and faster. In particular, Netflix believes the group’s plan to add 20 new members by the end of the year and increase overall membership by 50% is too late. Oddly enough, according to the correspondence we saw, Netflix is referring to the process taking place over three years, while the HFPA has announced that it will take no more than 18 months. However, the Reed Hastings-on-board streamer believes the HFPA should grow to more than 300 members to truly create change and inclusion, and that it should be in a few months, not over a year.
The clock is ticking again for the HFPA.
Earlier today, 100 global public relations firms publicly stated that they “will continue to refrain from HFPA-sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are discussed in detail and firmly committed to a schedule that will looming reality of the 2022 season respected. “
Now, Netflix is taking the approach of speaking softly and carrying a large stick to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt – and that could, after all, carry all the weight in the world.
With Time’s Up, Top Flacks, and the National Association of Black Journalists, who have already expressed their displeasure with the HFPA and its attempt at reform, and NBC, which is pressuring behind the scenes and will now stand up next when Netflix adds add his voice to the choir?
.’s Patrick Hipes contributed to this report.