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Entertainment What's Next for the Canceled Golden Globes and Can the HFPA Recover?

17:16  11 may  2021
17:16  11 may  2021 Source:   thewrap.com

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Chadwick Boseman sitting on a bench in front of a piano: Golden Globe Awards © TheWrap Golden Globe Awards
"I don't think anyone will touch this with a 10-foot pole until they get their act together," one insider says

The Golden Globes crisis over the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association peaked early this week, with NBC cancelling the 2022 awards telecast under the crushing pressure of a streamer and studio boycott, leaving the organization with precious few options for survival.

Among the many questions left by NBC's cancellation of the telecast were: Can the HFPA take its 2022 broadcast to another network? If not, would the HFPA decide to hand out awards anyway? Does NBC still owe the association the contractual $60 million for the telecast? And would the activist groups pushing for to boycott the group over a history of no Black members and a tarnished public reputation stand down to allow the group to implement a reform plan?

NBC Backs Derided HFPA Promise Of Wide-Ranging Overhaul To Address Lack Of Black Members, Payouts & Governance

  NBC Backs Derided HFPA Promise Of Wide-Ranging Overhaul To Address Lack Of Black Members, Payouts & Governance Aiming to beat a self-imposed reform deadline set in March and a Tinseltown firestorm, the board of the besieged Hollywood Foreign Press Association today released a new plan to overhaul the 86-member non-profit Golden Globes organizing group, maybe. First caveat: No one has been hired yet and nothing really happens until a majority of the full membership ratifies it this summer.

Lawyers with expertise in entertainment contracts told TheWrap that the HFPA most likely won't be able to take its 2022 show elsewhere — though the exact language of the contract is not publicly known.

"Whether the HFPA can go elsewhere is determined by the contract," Dina Perez, an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, told TheWrap. "Regardless, it seems like there's a lot of support among the heavy hitters to not do business with the HFPA until it does an overhaul and is more inclusive. It's likely that HFPA may not get a deal elsewhere even assuming it was free to do so."

Indeed, most major studios and streamers have said they won't work with the group until substantial reforms have been made. Scarlett Johansson on Saturday called for stepping back, saying she "has often" faced "sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment," and Tom Cruise returned his three statues on Monday. The HFPA has been under fire since it was revealed that the group did not have any Black members and allegations of rampant self-dealing were revealed.

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The annual awards show has been airing on NBC for decades, with Dick Clark Productions producing the show and holding partial ownership as well. According to tax filings, NBCUniversal is paying the HFPA nearly $60 million a year to televise the show through 2026. Standard Media Index data showed the network grossed $33.8 million in ad revenue for the 2021 show, down 26% from the previous year.

Representatives for the HFPA, Dick Clark Productions and NBC did not respond to TheWrap's request for comment on this story.

Because of the fixed price and term of the deal, NBC will most likely be able to call the shots, Schuyler Moore, partner at Greenberg Glusker, said. "If that's the case, they wouldn't be able to show it elsewhere," he said. "If NBC says there is no show, then that's the likely outcome. I don't think anyone will touch this with a 10-foot pole until they get their act together."

HFPA Pleads for Meeting With Netflix After Streamer Cuts Ties

  HFPA Pleads for Meeting With Netflix After Streamer Cuts Ties Netflix said it would no longer work with Golden Globes group without a 'clear roadmap for change' In a letter Friday night, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association responded to Netflix's decision to cut ties with the organization by requesting a meeting to discuss reforms Netflix said don't go far enough to address problems of diversity and inclusion. Netflix had previously said Friday it would stop working with the HFPA — the organization responsible for the Golden Globes — until it underwent significant changes including addressing racial inequity in the Association.

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler holding a wine glass: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted this year's Golden Globes from two coasts (Photo: NBC) © Provided by TheWrap Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted this year's Golden Globes from two coasts (Photo: NBC)

NBC would still owe the HFPA and DCP contractually agreed upon $60 million, he said, unless NBC would make an argument of Force Majeure or what's called a Frustration of Purpose, both of which are very hard to argue unless the fundamental facts of the agreement have changed. If there is a fixed price, he said, NBC would have to pay — and on a show that has been losing money in recent years given the collapse of awards-show viewership and ad dollars.

"I wouldn't be surprised if NBC said, We'll make a deal and we'll either reduce what we pay you and you can take it elsewhere or even say we're not going to pay you on the basis that you have breached your behavior," Moore said.

An executive with a rival broadcast network person said he did not believe it would be possible for another network to swoop in.

Jordan Matthews, a litigation attorney and a partner with Weinberg Gonser in Los Angeles, added that while he is not familiar with the exact contract, most broadcast rights deals have standard language around cancellation. "I don't think they'll be able to go to another network and say this is our current deal, will you match it, because 1) there are probably confidentiality issues and 2) there are multiple parties involved," he told TheWrap. "It's worth considering that any other network that will come to play will have an opportunity to name their price, but I don't think anyone will touch it until there are aggressive changes made to the HFPA."

Netflix 'Stopping Any Activities' with HFPA Over Diversity Reform Issues as Amazon, GLAAD Join Callout

  Netflix 'Stopping Any Activities' with HFPA Over Diversity Reform Issues as Amazon, GLAAD Join Callout "We hear your concerns about the changes our association needs to make and want to assure you that we are working diligently on all of them," HFPA President Ali Sar said in a response Sarandos continued, "So we're stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made. We know that you have many well-intentioned members who want real change — and that all of us have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry. But Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA's collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.

Shortly after NBC said it would not air the 2022 awards show on Monday, the HFPA released a timeline through this summer for implementing promised reforms.

The timetable came just after Netflix, Amazon and then WarnerMedia announced they would indefinitely suspend involvement with the HFPA until sufficient change in the organization's membership demographics and operating protocols had been instituted.

But with no telecast, will there also be no awards? One individual close to the organization said the group is probably going to take a year off from the awards race completely. A spokesperson for the HFPA said the group is "completely focused on putting in the work and demonstrating its commitment to reform and structural change," with no mention of options for moving forward with awards this year.

Of course, the group could nominate and choose winners internally and announced it via press release with no ceremony. A lot of other critics groups do it that way, after all.

But then there's also the timing. It's now May — the trophies are typically handed out in eight months, in early January. Before that, there would be months of press conferences and campaigning. Press conferences with HFPA members are important elements in raising awareness of movies and TV shows among the clubby group of foreign journalists who vote for the annual Golden Globe awards. In March, TheWrap reported that the organization denied requests to hold press conferences for three major projects with Black-led casts in recent years, including "Bridgerton," "Girls Trip" and "Queen & Slim."

WarnerMedia Joins HFPA Boycott Over Reforms: 'We Don't Believe the Plan Goes Far Enough'

  WarnerMedia Joins HFPA Boycott Over Reforms: 'We Don't Believe the Plan Goes Far Enough' Netflix and Amazon have also said they would cease working with the beleaguered group WarnerMedia is the latest company to join the chorus of those refusing to work with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), arguing the beleaguered organization's planned reforms are both too little and are being implemented too slowly. "While we commend the HFPA membership's approval of the plan to move towards radical reform, we don't believe the plan"While we commend the HFPA membership's approval of the plan to move towards radical reform, we don't believe the plan goes far enough in addressing the breadth of our concerns, nor does your timeline capture the immediate need by which these issues should be addressed," t

Meher Tatna et al. posing for the camera: HFPA leaders Meher Tatna, Ali Sar and Helen Hoehne at the 2021 ceremony (NBC) © Provided by TheWrap HFPA leaders Meher Tatna, Ali Sar and Helen Hoehne at the 2021 ceremony (NBC)

The group has pledged to add at least 20 new members by the first week of August, as well as elect a new board and install new outside chief executives — but is that enough time to increase and diversify membership in a meaningful and responsible way before all of the awards campaigning traditionally begins? After all, NBC cited the time constraints in its statement about not airing the 2022 Golden Globes.

"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," the company said in a statement. "Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023."

It seems possible that new members would have time to see new movies if they attend film festivals and screenings in the fall outside of special screenings and press conferences organized for HFPA members, as has been done in the past. However, the majority of Globes voters would still be existing HFPA members. This seems unacceptable for the Hollywood publicists, Time's Up and other groups who have spoken out. The group currently has 85 members and has committed to adding at least 50% new members, with half of those coming from underrepresented groups.

HFPA Members Approve New Ethics Code .
Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that hands out the Golden Globes every year, on Thursday night approved a new Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct "setting forth the values, expectations, and standards" of the organization. The group, which has been under fire in recent months due to a lack of Black members and corruption, re-committed to diversifying the group, being transparent and accountable, and upholding"The group, which has been under fire in recent months due to a lack of Black members and corruption, re-committed to diversifying the group, being transparent and accountable, and upholding" the highest standards of professionalism" by promoting a welcoming culture, maintainin

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