HFPA board commits to 'at least 13% Black membership' after controversy

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Los Angeles, Mar 16 (PTI) The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organisation behind the annual Golden Globe Awards, has has pledged to increase Black members in its ranks by at least 13 per cent by next year. The announcement came soon after a joint letter was sent to the HFPA by over one hundred PR firms, demanding 'transformational change' in the body.

The HFPA has been under intense scrutiny after a Los Angeles Times report revealed that it has no representation from the Black community among its 87 members.

In response to the letter, the organisation said that it is committed to making necessary changes 'within our organization and in our industry as a whole'.

'We also acknowledge that we should have done more, and sooner. As a demonstration of our commitment, the board has unanimously approved a plan to increase membership to a minimum of 100 members this year, with a requirement that at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists,' the HFPA statement, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, read.

In their letter, PR firms demanded that the HFPA 'manifest profound and lasting change' to counteract 'discriminatory behaviour, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption' within HFPA.

They warned that if the such changes are not enacted in the body, then they will withdraw access to their clients.

'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,' the letter read.

Last week, the HFPA had announced that it hired two experienced advisors to assist it with making changes within the organisation that has been criticised for lack of diversity in its ranks.

On March 6, the HFPA had said on social media that it has the intention to reform, starting with the hiring of a diversity expert and an independent counsel among 'initial steps we will take over the next 60 days'.

During last month’s Golden Globes telecast, three leaders of the HFPA -- Helen Hoehne, vice president; Meher Tatna, board chair and past president; and Ali Sar, current president -- had taken to the stage and addressed the controversy.

The three members had stressed that 'Black representation is vital' and that they’re working to make diverse membership 'the norm'. PTI RB BK BK