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2022 Golden Globes boycott, controversy around the celebrity-less awards show

·4-min read
The stage is set for the nominations announcement for the 79th Golden Globe Awards, December 13, 2021, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images) (ROBYN BECK via Getty Images)

If you thought last year's Golden Globes looked odd with a virtual ceremony, 2022 marks the near cancellation of the awards show, with no celebrities in attendance, no red carpet and it will not be televised or live streamed.

This is a result of continued controversy within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), largely brought to light after an investigation published by the Los Angeles Times last year. It found that the HFPA regular issued "substantial payments" to its members, including collecting about US$2 million in its fiscal year ending in June 2020 for serving on committees and performing other tasks.

The investigation also highlighted that the group of journalists did not include any Black members, which was later called out by director and Golden Globe nominee Ava DuVernay as a known deficit for years.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times the HFPA 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."

"We are fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, TV and the artists inspiring and educating them."

In October 2021, the HFPA announced that it had brought on 21 new members, including six Black members.

When the 2021 nominees were announced, people questioned why movies featuring Black filmmakers, Black actors in leading roles and Black storytelling, including Regina King’s One Night in Miami, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, were notably absent in the best motion picture category. Criticism escalated after Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You was missing from the nomination list entirely.

In an op-ed published in The Guardian, Deborah Copaken, a writer for the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix series Emily in Paris, acknowledged that I May Destroy You deserved to be recognized at the 2021 Golden Globes.

"I’m a writer on the show. I tried to avoid reading its criticism, but I don’t live under a rock. It never occurred to me that our show would be nominated," Copaken wrote.

"Now, am I excited that Emily in Paris was nominated? Yes. Of course. I’ve never been remotely close to seeing a Golden Globe statue up close, let alone being nominated for one. But that excitement is now unfortunately tempered by my rage over Coel’s snub. That I May Destroy You did not get one Golden Globe nod is not only wrong, it’s what is wrong with everything."

The Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that in 2019, 30 members of the HFPA flew to France to visit the set of the Netflix series, which included a two-night stay at the Peninsula Paris hotel, where room rates are about US$1,400 a night. There was also a news conference and lunch held at the Musée des Arts Forains.

In May 2021, U.S. television network NBC publicly announce it will not televise the 2022 Golden Globes, citing the criticism in Hollywood for the ethics and lack of diversity in the HFPA.

Many film and TV organizations, including WarnerMedia, Netflix and Amazon Studios, have indicated they will not participate in HFPA events.

In March 2021, a letter from a group of publicists warned that clients will not work with the organization until serious changes are made in the HFPA.

"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 behaviour, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption endemic to the HFPA, funded by Dick Clark Productions, MRC, NBCUniversal and Comcast," the letter reads.

"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."

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