The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the committee that determines who wins Golden Globe awards, is under fire for its lack of a single black member and comments made in internal emails regarding the controversy.
The Los Angeles Times investigated the HFPA and published emails from members discussing the lack of diversity. Previously, HFPA President Theo Kingma told the Times that the organization was working to change its voting body.
“It is something that we should give a serious look at; times have changed, but sadly our bylaws don’t change as quickly,” he told the outlet Thursday.
That interview irked some other HFPA members, including Dierk Sindermann, who represents Austria, Germany, and Switzerland in the committee. Sindermann wrote an email to Kingma decrying his interview, writing, “Maybe I misunderstood you as the HFPA counsel but to my recollection you urged members not to comment publicly on internal affairs. Does this rule not apply any more?”
In his interview with the Times last week, Kingma said that the black woman who was denied a place in the HFPA in 2013, British-based Samantha Ofole-Prince, was denied a place because “she didn’t fulfill the [bylaws] requirements.”
“Her publications paid her less than European publications, and she couldn’t make a living here, which was more the reason to accept her. HFPA access would have really helped her,” he said.
Sindermann wrote in his email, however, that Ofole-Prince was rejected by the HFPA because she didn’t have “sufficient votes.”
“A lot of members are probably unaware that in 2013 there was a controversy in regards of black applicant Samantha Ofole-Prince,” Sindermann wrote, adding that Kingma’s comments on the situation were “at best tone deaf and simply false.”
HFPA COO and General Counsel Gregory Goeckner replied to Sindermann’s email by saying, “Please let’s not discuss this on email.”
Jane Fonda, the left-wing actress who received the HFPA’s Cecil B. DeMill award, told the committee during a Zoom call that they needed to “get more women” and black members.
“I must say, get more women. I’m only the 17th time that a woman has won [the career achievement award]. And also, we need to help you get more Black members,” Fonda said, according to a transcript reviewed by the Times.
One member claimed that “They haven’t applied and nobody wrote about that,” adding that the HFPA is “open to anybody as long as you’re based in Southern California and write for an international magazine. The press never picked up on that.”
Worse, the HFPA’s president, Meher Tatna, couldn’t even recall the name of the last black member on the committee. It has been 20 years, which “was before my time, but I don’t remember what country he came from,” Tatna told Variety.
The HFPA also released an official statement on the committee’s need for black members.
“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,” a representative told the Times. “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.”
This is the latest controversy facing the HFPA. As The Daily Wire’s Charlotte Pence Bond previously reported, the organization was accused of ethical violations the week before the Golden Globes.