Golden Globes 2021: Membership Diversity Backlash Addressed Humorously and Seriously

Membership Diversity Backlash Addressed Humorously and Seriously

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Three HFPA members stood socially distanced onstage to address the issue in a Los Angeles Times investigative report last week that there are no Black journalists among its 87-person membership.”

We recognize we have our own work to do,” said Helen Hoehne of Germany. “Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.”

Former HFPA president Meher Tatna of India agreed. “We must ensure everyone gets a seat at our table.”

“That means creating an environment where diversity is the norm, not an exception,” Turkish member Ali Sar concurred, without offering any more details about how or when the HFPA would do so. “Thank you.”

During their opening monologue (or dialogue), co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made fun of the controversy.

“The HFPA is made up of around 90 international—no Black—journalists who attend movie junkets each year in search of a better life,” Fey said as part of an overall explanation of the awards show’s plethora of confusing rules and categories. “So, let’s see what these European weirdos nominated this year.”

Later in the patter, during a run-down of the nominees, the duo mentioned that “a number of Black-led projects were overlooked” (notably, no Best Picture nominations for such awards-season frontrunners as Judas and the Black MessiahDa 5 BloodsOne Night in Miami and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).

“They’re all a scam invented by Big Red Carpet,” Poehler quipped.

“Inclusivity is important, and there are no black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press… you’ve gotta change that. So here’s to changing it,” said Fey.

“Yes, looking forward to that change,” Poehler concluded. Earlier in the week, in a statement to the L.A. Times about its lack of Black members, an HFPA spokesperson said, “We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.”

Hollywood figures began responding publicly to the L.A. Times report days before the ceremony. In particular, two days before the awards show, the anti-workplace discrimination organization Times Up and its supporters, including Ava DuVernay, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Judd Apatow, made an image calling attention to the HFPA’s lack of Black journalists on social media: “Hollywood Foreign Press Association: Not a single Black member out of 87. #TimesUpGlobes,” the image read.

Previous Globes winner Sterling K. Brown, a presenter this year, added on Instagram: “I’m presenting at the telecast this weekend to honor all the storytellers, especially those of color, who have achieved this extraordinary moment in their careers… AND I have my criticisms of the #HFPA 87 people wield a tremendous amount of power.”

Hollywood guilds also weighed in, with SAG-AFTRA saying that it was calling on the HFPA to “establish a more inclusive membership that truly reflects the extraordinary diversity and variety of the global media industry they purport to represent.”

The Directors Guild of America stated of the HFPA, “A cosmetic fix isn’t enough. When whole cultures are shut out of the conversation, their art and their voices are shut out as well.”