Under severe criticism for the lack of a single Black member among their influential ranks, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association today finally laid out some specifics of how they intend to try to rectify matters.
"We understand the importance of building a more inclusive organization and becoming more transparent in our operations, and these hires are an important first step," said the HFPA today.
Following more vague promises this past weekend to address the appalling situation, the Golden Globes organizing group are bringing on board Dr. Shaun Harper the executive director of USC Race and Equity Center as their "Strategic Diversity Advisor for the next five years," the Golden Globes presenting group announced Tuesday. In addition to conducting a review of the 87-member group's internal policies, Dr. Harper "will also create and conduct a series of anti-racism and unconscious bias training for our members," the HFPA stated. "Dr. Harper will also guide us in developing and implementing a comprehensive, multi-year diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy.
Read the HFPA's latest statement in full below or on Twitter here:
A statement from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). pic.twitter.com/72kqMb80k9
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) March 9, 2021
Dropped online, the latest move today succeeds a call just hours ago by Time's Up for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the HFPA. The workplace advocacy organization also called on long time Globes broadcaster NBC , parent company Comcast and producer dick clark production to "boldly address change and to make the 2022 Golden Globes fundamentally different." Time's Up also want the Globes moved from their long time perch just before the Oscar nominations, in what is a clear bid to dampen their power.
The outrage from Hollywood top talent and content creators of all backgrounds as well as robust guilds over the lack of any Black members in the HFPA overshadowed much of this year's Golden Globes. The controversy forced a clearly uncomfortable HFPA boss Ali Sar and colleagues Meher Tatna and Helen Hoehne to take the stage at the train wreck of a semi-virtual ceremony on February 28 to promise "a more inclusive future." Facing an ever growing backlash from that bandaid move, the HFPA on March 6 released another statement online outlining their scheme for "transformational change."
The same day, Time's Up tossed the HFPA's promises back at them: "We need to see specific details, timetables for change, and firm commitments. The right words are not enough. The clock is ticking."
Part of what the HFPA had said they would do besides "hiring an independent expert in organizational diversity, equity and inclusion to advise and guide us," was bring in a "third-party independent law firm." That firm's brief would be to "review the HFPA polices to ensure we are aligned with and exceed industry best practices in critical areas."
Today it was unveiled that the firm in question would be Boston-based Ropes & Gray. Led by the firm's Alex Rene, Morey Ward, and James Dowden, the R&G team are charged with pulling up the rocks on the HFPA's bylaws and policies. As well, they will "support the continued development of a confidential reporting system for investigating alleged violations of our ethical standards and code of conduct."
Beyond the five years of Dr, Harper's tenure with the HFPA, no deadlines or benchmarks were given as to when the secretive organization intends to put change into practice. Which …well, read into that what you will.
READ THE HFPA'S FULL STATEMENT HERE:
At the core of the HFPA's plan to tackle diversity issues, we are hiring Dr. Shaun Harper, a leading expert on racial equity, Provost Professor in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and founder and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center, as our Strategic Diversity Advisor for the next five years. Dr. Harper will conduct an audit and review of the Association's bylaws, culture, and eligibility requirements to help us guard against any exclusionary practices and achieve a more diverse membership. He will also create and conduct a series of anti-racism and unconscious bias training for our members. Dr. Harper will also guide us in developing and implementing a comprehensive, multi-year diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy.
We are also retaining Ropes & Gray as outside counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of HFPA policies, assess our membership process, operations, governance, and review our alignment with industry best practices in various areas. The firm will also support the continued development of a confidential reporting system for investigating alleged violations of our ethical standards and code of conduct. The Ropes & Gray team will be led by Alex Rene, Morey Ward, and James Dowden. This team brings deep experience advising nonprofits on high-profile corporate governance, compliance, and ethics matters.
We understand the importance of building a more inclusive organization and becoming more transparent in our operations, and these hires are an important first step. We remain committed to fostering an environment that better reflects our core values, affords us the opportunity to continue as valuable members of the entertainment community, and restores faith, trust, and confidence in our organization.
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