Hollywood PR Firms Pull Clients From HFPA Events Pending Changes
Firms warned the Golden Globe organization of “immediate and irreparable damage” to talent relationships
More than 100 Hollywood public relations firms demanded on Monday that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization that hands out the Golden Globes, enact “profound and lasting” change otherwise their clients will not “participate in HFPA events or interviews” going forward.
The scathing email from the leading publicity firms in the entertainment industry read:
“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.”
It continued: “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.
“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.”
The action came on the very day that Academy Awards nominations were announced, usually a day of celebration in Hollywood.
The HFPA responded quickly on Monday night and promised “to increase membership to a minimum of 100 members this year, with a requirement that at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists.”
On Sunday, TheWrap reported that Hollywood public relations firms were organizing a mass action against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, warning that if the group behind the Golden Globes does not diversify, their celebrity clients will be off-limits to the group until at least May 6. The May 6 date coincides with when the HFPA said it would deliver a detailed action plan to diversify its ranks and address issues of alleged corruption inside the organization. Until that date, the insider told TheWrap, Hollywood stars from major PR agencies will not be participating in HFPA press conferences.
The threatened blackout could be devastating to the HFPA, whose members make their living writing articles from press conferences and movie junkets with Hollywood stars. For example, the Marvel blockbuster “Black Widow” comes out on May 7, starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and others. Under this action, the stars would not be available for a press conference.
The 104 participating PR companies include ID, Viewpoint, The Lede Company, True Public Relations, R&C-PMK, Shelter PR, Relevant, Kovert Creative, Narrative, ImPRint, Slate PR, Independent Public Relations, Wolf Kasteler Public Relations and many others listed below.
Recent reports have noted that the 87-member group has no Black members, despite the push for diversity in Hollywood since the #OscarsSoWhite campaign launched in 2015. As far back as 2013, TheWrap reported that a Black applicant from the U.K. was rejected by an overwhelming vote. However, observers say the recent Black Lives Matter movement has made the focus on the lack of Black members impossible to ignore in 2021.
Just days before last month’s ceremony, the Time’s Up organization launched a #TimesUpGlobes protest campaign over the group’s lack of diversity. Hollywood influencers like Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow and Shonda Rhimes joined in posting statements calling on the organization to make a commitment to diversify.
The organization hired a diversity consultant and an outside law firm after TheWrap reported that several members sent emails to the Board of Director asking for them to resign.
A spokesperson for the HFPA has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
See the full letter below.
March 15, 2021
Greg Goecker, COO & General Counsel
Ali Sar, President
Meher Tatna, Board Chair
Hollywood Foreign Press Association
646 N. Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
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.
While we stand ready to support your good faith efforts, please know that anything less than transparent, meaningful change that respects and honors the diversity and dignity of our clients, their colleagues and our global audience will result in immediate and irreparable damage to the relationship between our agencies, our clients and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and those who sanction the institutional inequity and insular culture that currently define it.
The eyes of the industry and those who support it are watching.
align Public Relations
Anderson Group Public
Ascend Public Relations Group
Carol Marshall Public Relations
Cassandra Butcher PR &
Cinematic Red PR
Core PR Group
Elzer & Associates
Flash Forward Publicity
Full Coverage Communications
Guttman Associates Public
Heidi Schaeffer Public Relations
Image Management PR
Independent Public Relations
(continues on the following page)
Jill Fritzo Public Relations
Joy Fehily Management +
Katrina Wan PR
Katz Public Relations
LSG Public Relations
Main Stage Public Relations
Marleah Leslie & Associates
McClure & Associates Public
Meghan Prophet Public
MRC Publicity and Marketing
Nancy Seltzer & Associates
Patricola Public Relations
Paula Woods Consultants
Pinnacle Public Relations
Platform Public Relations
PMG-Platform Media Group
Presse Public Relations
Prism Media Group
Public Eye Communications
Red Sea Entertainment
Rogers & Cowan/PMK
Rosenfield Media Group
Schure Media Group
Strategic Heights Media
Strategic Public Relations
SYStrategies & PR
Tencer & Associates
The Chamber Group
The Collins Jackson Agency
The Initiative Group
The Lede Company
The Oriel Company
The Samonte Group
True Public Relations
VanIden Public Relations
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