The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) was issued an ultimatum in the form of a letter sent in by over 100 of the most influential PR firms in Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Prior to last month’s Golden Globes, the Time’s Up coalition called on the HFPA to state specific plans for reforming itself. Per the outlet, the HFPA acknowledged their need for change in a written statement and addressed this during a brief segment during the Golden Globes. On March 9th, they announced that their organization will conduct an internal review.
More than 100 of the biggest PR firms in Hollywood collaborated on a letter directed towards the HFPA, threatening most of their access to Hollywood’s talent. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, “This threat should cause significant alarm among the members of the HFPA, most of whom only gain access to top Hollywood talent, via interviews and press conferences, because of their HFPA membership. They then use that content for stories which they either deliver to an editor, if they are regularly employed, or shop around, if they are a freelancer, in order to make a living.”
The Los Angeles Times’ exposé directed toward HFPA specified questionable ethical and financial behavior by members, and also revealed that there are currently no Black members of the 87-person organization.
The letter, which was sent late Monday, reads:
“As publicists we collectively represent the vast majority of artists in the entertainment industry. We call on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to swiftly manifest 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, funded by Dick Clark Productions, MRC, NBCUniversal and Comcast.
In the last decade our industry has faced a seismic reckoning and begun to address its failure to reflect and honor the diversity of our community, yet we have witnessed no acceptance of responsibility, accountability or action from the HFPA, even as systemic inequity and egregious behavior are allowed to continue. We collectively and unequivocally agree that transformative change in your organization and its historical practices is essential and entirely achievable. We want to be part of the solution.
To reflect how urgent and necessary we feel this work is, we cannot advocate for our clients to participate in HFPA events or interviews as we await your explicit plans and timeline for transformational change.”
They mean business, stating that “anything less than transparent, meaningful change” will result in “immediate and irreparable damage to the relationship.”
They concluded their letter with a warning, “The eyes of the industry and those who support it are watching.”