Golden Globes voters banned from accepting lavish gifts

Hollywood Foreign Press Association is working on its transformation
Jul 17, 2021
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The group behind Hollywood's glitzy Golden Globes has banned its members from accepting lavish gifts, trips and other freebies, after controversy over its ethics and practices led to next year's ceremony being canceled.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is scrambling to reform itself -- and the influential, but scandal-hit awards show its members vote on -- amid widespread criticism of the group's record on diversity and transparency.

In particular, the exclusive group of 80-odd film journalists has been accused of exploiting the prestige that comes with a Globes nomination or win to gain lucrative perks and unparalleled access to Hollywood stars.

Under new policies approved Thursday, "HFPA members shall not be permitted to accept promotional materials or other gifts from studios, publicists, actors, directors or others associated with motion pictures and television programs.

"The HFPA remains dedicated to the transformational change it outlined in its May reform plan and timeline," the group said in a statement to AFP.

"Yesterday, the organization put several more key pieces in place to move forward with reform."

The Golden Globes are second in importance only to the Oscars in Hollywood's film award season, but their future status has been called into question.

A group of more than 100 Tinseltown publicists wrote to the HFPA in March demanding an end to "discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption," joining criticism from the Time's Up group.

A-listers such as Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo have slammed the organizers' reforms as too slow and inadequate, while Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globes to the HFPA in protest.

Powerful studios including Warner Bros, Netflix and Amazon have said they will not work with the HFPA until more meaningful and significant changes are made.

In May, NBC canceled its broadcast of next year's prestigious awards.

Last month, two members resigned in protest at the "toxic" atmosphere within the ranks.

"We will continue to update the industry on our progress as we vote on new bylaws that will create an inclusive, diverse and accountable organization -- one that our members, stakeholders and partners will be proud of," said the group.

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