Golden Globes backlash: Tom Cruise hands back awards and NBC drops broadcast

Actor and network join industry figures distancing themselves from Hollywood Foreign Press Association after exposé

Tom Cruise has returned his three Golden Globes in protest after criticisms levelled at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association continue to create problems in the industry.

The actor, who won for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia, is one of many to stand up against the HFPA, the small group of international journalists who vote on the awards, after an exposé highlighted failings. NBC has also announced that it will not be airing the 2022 Golden Globes.

The HFPA has been under fire since the Los Angeles Times revealed allegations of corruption and impropriety as well as a lack of any black members.

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” a statement from the network read. “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. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

In response, the HFPA released a detailed timeline of proposed changes and a statement. “Regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes, implementing transformational changes as quickly – and as thoughtfully – as possible remains the top priority for our organization,” it read. “We invite our partners in the industry to the table to work with us on the systemic reform that is long overdue, both in our organization as well as within the industry at large.”

The network has shown the Golden Globes since 1996, paying about $60m a year for rights. The most recent ceremony, which saw Nomadland win big, saw a 60% drop in viewers.

The last week has seen studios, publicists and stars continue to distance themselves from the HFPA. Netflix, WarnerMedia and Scarlett Johansson have all urged the industry to take action. “Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA,” Johansson said.

Nearly 100 PR firms representing the film industry said they would “continue to refrain from any HFPA-sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are illuminated in detail with a firm commitment to a timeline”.

On 4 May, the HFPA announced changes to improve diversity and credibility, including diversifying members and an end to members taking “promotional items” from studios. But the Time’s Up organisation criticised the reforms as “window-dressing platitudes”. An open letter added: “Our community of vibrant creatives across all racial, ethnic, and gender backgrounds deserve better.”

The Los Angeles Times ran two investigations in the lead-up to this year’s ceremony, detailing many “ethical lapses” that have seen members courted by studios as well as barriers faced by black journalists. Since the article was published, the HFPA’s former president Phillip Berk was expelled for sharing an article with other members that referred to Black Lives Matter as “a “racist hate group”.

Contributor

Benjamin Lee

The GuardianTramp

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