0521 GMT August 05, 2021
There are zero black journalists among the 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), according to the Times, and the organization — whose ethics have long been questioned, dating back to an FCC investigation that led to a broadcast ban from 1968-74 and the Pia Zadora scandal of 1982 — is continuing to allow its members to behave in ways that call into question their ethics and integrity.
The HFPA is not only allowing its members to receive lavish perks from the studios and networks whose projects they later write about and vote on, such as a junket in France that might help explain recent Golden Globe nominations for the critically maligned TV series Emily in Paris, among other head-scratchers. But the organization, which is ostensibly a nonprofit, is also paying its own members — many of whom are struggling journalists — substantial amounts of money to serve as officers and on various committees, The Hollywood Reporter wrote.
Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa filed an antitrust lawsuit against the HFPA last year alleging that the organization was depriving her of potential income by barring her and other qualified journalists from becoming members in order to protect the sale value of current members’ reportage in various international territories. (All HFPA members must be Los Angeles-based and provide coverage for media outlets in a country or countries outside of the United States.) The suit was dismissed, but its juicy details prompted many to take a closer look at the secretive HFPA.
The Times spoke to current HFPA members who accuse the group of arbitrarily rejecting “well-credentialed foreign journalists” who apply for membership in favor of people who “aren’t serious journalists.” One member who was granted anonymity told the Times, “We admit people that are not real journalists because they are not a threat to anyone.”
The Times also reported that the HFPA has been paying its own members increasingly large amounts from an increasingly large pool of money generated from the organization’s TV deal with NBC. In the tax year ending June 30, 2019, five board members were paid between $63,433 and $135,957. Other members are paid for serving on the HFPA’s committees and writing for its website. Two dozen members who are on the foreign film viewing committee each received $3,465 to watch foreign films last month. Members of a travel committee earn $2,310 a month, members of a film festival committee earn $1,100 a month, and members of an archives committee earn $2,200. And members who moderate press conferences receive $1,200 a month.