After Backlash Over Its Reform Plans, Golden Globes Group Considers a New Option

LOS ANGELES — For months, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the troubled nonprofit organization behind the big-money Golden Globe Awards, has been wrestling with how to reform itself after an outcry over financial, ethical and diversity lapses and NBC’s cancellation of next year’s Globes telecast.

Part of the challenge: Swaths of the entertainment industry — and a few H.F.P.A. members, two of whom quit in protest in recent weeks — have deemed the “transformational” changes proposed by the group’s board as insufficient. A particular point of contention has been inclusion; the group currently has about 80 members, none of whom are Black.

On Wednesday, an expanded reform plan was presented to the organization’s members for consideration.

Todd Boehly, the chairman of Eldridge Industries, a holding group with assets that include Dick Clark Productions, the decades-long producer of the Golden Globes, presented the complex plan over Zoom. Its core components involve the speedy addition of 50 journalist voters to the current group of about 80, with an emphasis on diversity; the creation of a spinoff, for-profit Golden Globes company in partnership with Eldridge that would be governed by a 15-member board; and tougher and more transparent requirements for reaccreditation as an H.F.P.A. member, which must be done annually.

Jesse Collins, a producer whose awards-show credits include the Academy Awards, the BET Awards and the Grammys, and who will produce the next American Music Awards, a Dick Clark production, has agreed to work with Eldridge to advance H.F.P.A. reform. “This is an exciting opportunity to be part of real change,” Mr. Collins said in an email.

Eldridge has gotten involved because the Golden Globes generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for Dick Clark Productions. Eldridge wants to set the Golden Globes up for long-term stability and even growth — possibly by expanding overseas to produce local versions of the show or perhaps turning the flagship ceremony into a multiday event. If the organization moves quickly enough (a long shot considering its recent infighting), Eldridge even believes the 2022 Golden Globes could be salvaged.

“While we recognize that this is ultimately an H.F.P.A. membership decision, we look forward to investing time and resources to ensure that essential reforms — prioritizing inclusion, transparency and governance — are implemented, creating meaningful change and long-term, sustained success,” Eldridge said in a statement.

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The H.F.P.A. is expected to vote this summer on various reform proposals. The organization requires a two-thirds majority vote to change its bylaws.

In the meantime, those in Hollywood who are pressuring the H.F.P.A. to change — stars, publicists, filmmakers, show creators — will undoubtedly scrutinize the fine print on Eldridge’s proposal and weigh in. It is unclear, for instance, how the voter-expansion plan will be received.

Eldridge’s suggestion of 50 additional voters would be a 63 percent increase. But those voters would not become members, at least not immediately. That means they would not receive the same financial opportunities as the current members, who would become employees, with rolling terms, of the new for-profit company and have responsibilities that include producing content that can be used to promote the Globes.

(A nonprofit H.F.P.A. arm would continue to exist as well, with responsibilities that include charitable giving; the organization says it has given away $45 million over the last 28 years. On Wednesday, Mr. Boehly proposed that the charitable entity expand its mission, including by endowing journalism chairs at one or more historically Black colleges and universities.)

The foreign press association has been under fire since February, when a wide-ranging Los Angeles Times article found, among other things, that the group had no Black members, had more than $50 million in cash on hand at the end of October and paid large sums to members for serving on committees. The newspaper has continued to scrutinize the organization, publishing more than 40 articles about its problems and the most recent Globes ceremony.

During the Globes telecast on Feb. 28, members of the foreign press association vowed to diversify the group. A set of changes were announced in early May. They included increasing the group’s membership by 50 percent over the next year and a half and hiring diversity consultants (those initially hired to do the job quit under protest). The association also said it planned to hire a search firm to seek potential candidates to run the group, and had retained a law firm to help carry out the changes.

But Hollywood — long willing to turn a blind eye to the group’s problematic inner workings — pushed back. Netflix declared that it would not work with the organization unless additional changes were made. Amazon and WarnerMedia said the same. Scarlett Johansson said in a statement that the organization’s news conferences “bordered on sexual harassment,” and Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globe trophies. A group of more than 100 publicity firms that serve the entertainment industry vowed a boycott.

All of that, and the knowledge that the ratings for February’s show dropped precipitously, prompted NBC to cancel the 2022 show.

“We continue to believe that the H.F.P.A. is committed to meaningful reform,” the network said at the time. “However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the H.F.P.A. needs time to do it right.”

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