A backdrop for journalists at the 2021 Golden Globes awards in Los Angeles

Golden Globes: why Hollywood is boycotting the awards ceremony

The Golden Globes may be an awards season mainstay, but a recent exposé revealed ethical failings that have prompted Hollywood’s movers and shakers to boycott the ceremony and its governing body, the HFPA. 

The past few years have seen the entertainment industry undergo a long-overdue reckoning. From the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to the Me Too movement, Hollywood is being held to account for failures to ensure equal representation, pay parity, and safe working environments.

The Golden Globes is the latest institution to be called to question. Just two months ago, the 78th ceremony boasted the virtual attendance of heavy hitters including Regina King, Jane Fonda and Daniel Kaluuya. But as of today, the awards season mainstay has not only been cancelled by broadcaster NBC, but famous recipients and film studios alike are calling for a boycott of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – the small group of international journalists that vote for the awards.

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Why are the Golden Globes being boycotted?

In an exposé published in February, allegations were lobbied at the HFPA detailing improper conduct, corruption and the startling finding that there have been no Black voting members in the past 20 years.

In response, the HFPA released a statement announcing reforms on 3 May, inviting the “industry at large” to “work with us on the systemic reform that is long overdue.”

Despite the proposed reforms, for many it’s too little too late. In March, director Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us), shared her experience of screening a show for the HFPA in a tweet that read: “For the WHEN THEY SEE US/ HFPA press conference, less than 20 of them showed up. Based on the quality of their questions, I jokingly asked “Have any of you seen the series?” Crickets. More came in the room when the pix were to be taken, at which time two peddled their scripts.”

On 7 May, Time’s Up also released an open letter in response to the HFPA’s reforms, with president Tina Tchen saying, “The window-dressing platitudes adopted yesterday are neither the transformation that was promised nor what our creative community deserves.”

Who has boycotted the Golden Globes?

On 11 May, NBCUniversal announced the Golden Globes would not be airing on NBC in 2022. The statement reads: “We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.” 

So far, Tom Cruise has sent his Golden Globes for Jerry Maguire, Born On The Fourth Of July and Magnolia back to the HFPA.

Scarlett Johansson shared on 8 May that she hasn’t participated in HFPA conferences for years after “facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment.”

Actor Mark Ruffalo responded to the HFPA’s statement with one of his own, in which he says, “As a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award.” Ruffalo accompanied his statement with the hashtag #ChangeisGolden.

Alongside the actors, studios are also severing ties with the HFPA. On 6 May WarnerMedia Studios and Networks – which owns Warner Bros., HBO and HBOMax – announced it will “continue to refrain from direct engagement with the HFPA.” Netflix and Amazon followed suit on 8 May. 

The HFPA’s latest update on 10 May states that the organisation is sticking to the proposed timeline of reforms despite NBC cancelling next year’s ceremony. The statement reads: “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.”

Images: Getty

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