Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) subsidiary NBC announced it will not broadcast the Golden Globe Awards in 2022 due to an ongoing controversy regarding a lack of diversity within the awards’ parent organization, the nonprofit Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).
What Happened: The Golden Globes became tarnished in February when the Los Angeles Times reported the organization, an 87-member group of Hollywood-based international journalists, has no Black members.
The racial aspect of the HFPA’s focus was further exacerbated by the absence of several highly-regarded Black-themed films including “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Judas and the Black Messiah” from its Best Picture competition and in comments by HFPA president Philip Berk that Black Lives Matter was a "hate group." Berk resigned after his remarks became public.
Further complicating matters were accusations of influence-peddling in connection with the nomination of Netflix’s (NASDAQ:NFLX) “Emily in Paris” for Best Comedy Series. The Los Angeles Times had uncovered the show’s production company, ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) subsidiary Paramount Network, flew 30 HFPA members to France to visit with the series’ talent. The HFPA members were given a two-night stay at a five-star hotel and were wined and dined while in the French capital.
The fallout from the Los Angeles Times’ articles has been growing. A coalition of Hollywood public relations agencies sent an open letter to the HFPA demanding “profound and lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos and pervasive practice of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption endemic to the HFPA.”
Netflix and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) have temporarily suspended their ties with the HFPA as a result of the growing brouhaha. Several A-list stars have joined in the protest, with Tom Cruise returning the three Golden Globe awards he won during his career while Scarlett Johannsen and Mark Ruffalo openly criticized the HFPA as being morally bankrupt.
NBC, which signed a contract in 2018 for exclusive broadcast rights to the award telecast through 2026, released a statement stating it will not air next year’s event.
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” the statement said. “However, 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.”
What Happens Next: The HFPA has announced a series of steps to reform its organization, which include the creation of a new code of conduct in dealing with studios and publicists and the hiring of a consultant to address diversity and inclusion issues.
In its statement, NBC added that if the HFPA can show evidence of internal reforms, “we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
Still, the HFPA has a long history of dubious behavior. In 1958, former HFPA president Henry Gris was forced to resign from the organization’s board after publicly stating that “certain awards are being given more or less as favors.” The sketchy nature of the HFPA plagued the awards’ credibility, to the point that there was no telecast of the event between 1969 and 1972 and a 1973-1977 run as on the relatively limited-reach network of Metromedia stations.
The “Emily in Paris” controversy was reminiscent of similar situations from 1982 when hotelier Meshulam Riklis’s flew HFPA members to his Las Vegas resort, which appeared to help gain the New Star of the Year Award for his starlet wife Pia Zadora’s performance in the egregious “Butterfly.”
Even during the awards show, the Golden Globes’ cred has been called into doubt, most notably in 2016 when host Ricky Gervais dubbed the award “a bit of metal that some nice old confused journalists wanted to give you in person so they could meet you and have a selfie with you.”
(Lily Collins in "Emily in Paris," one of the contentious elements of the Golden Globes controversies. Photo courtesy of Netflix.)