LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Continuing its damage control following revelations that it lacks any Black members, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Tuesday announced the hiring of a law firm and a USC expert on racial equity to reassess its policies and membership practices.
"We understand the importance of building a more inclusive organization and becoming more transparent in our operations, and these hires are an important first step," according to a statement from the HFPA, which is best known for its annual Golden Globe Awards. "We remain committed to fostering an environment that better reflects our core values, affords us the opportunity to continue as valuable members of the entertainment community and restores faith, trust and confidence in our organization."
What You Need To Know
- The Hollywood Foreign Press announced the hiring of Shaun Harper as the HFPA's strategic diversity adviser
- Harper is a professor at USC's Marshall Business School and founder of the university's Race and Equity Center
- Harper will conduct anti-racism and bias training for HFPA members
- The HFPA also hired the law firm of Ropes & Gray, which is based in Boston but has 11 locations globally
The group announced the hiring of Shaun Harper, a professor at USC's Marshall Business School and founder of the university's Race and Equity Center, as the HFPA's strategic diversity adviser. According to the group, Harper "will conduct an audit and review of the association's bylaws, culture and eligibility requirements to help us guard against any exclusionary practices and achieve a more diverse membership."
Harper will also conduct anti-racism and bias training for HFPA members.
The HFPA also hired the law firm of Ropes & Gray, which is based in Boston but has 11 locations globally. The firm will "conduct a comprehensive review of HFPA policies, assess our membership process, operations, governance and review our alignment with industry best practices in various areas," according to the association.
The firm will also help develop "a confidential reporting system for investigating alleged violations of our ethical standards and code of conduct," according to the HFPA.
Earlier Tuesday, the Times Up organization, created in response to the #MeToo movement to combat workplace discrimination, issued a series of recommendations for the HFPA, including the immediate resignation of all of its roughly 90 members. The group called for an immediate change in HFPA's management and board, with an outside attorney brought on to oversee the hiring of a new management team.
It also called for an overhaul of membership criteria to ensure members are legitimate journalists, and an expansion of the group's membership to at least 300. Times Up also recommended that HFPA enact strict regulations governing the nomination process for the Golden Globes to prevent undue influence on the process, and calling for the awards show itself to be held after the announcement of Oscar nominations. The group said holding the awards prior to Oscar nominations "has given the Globes an outsized influence on later awards and exacerbated the effects of the institutional racism and sexism of the Globes."