Two HFPA members resigns, calls it 'a toxic place for working journalists'

·3-min read

Los Angeles, Jun 18 (PTI) In fresh trouble for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organisers of Golden Globes, two members of the group have resigned, calling it 'a toxic place for working journalists'.

In recent months, the HFPA has come under fire following an investigative report in February by The Los Angeles Times that recounted the organisation's questionable record on diversity, including, presently, no Black members among its roughly 90 voting members.

The press association has pledged to thoroughly reform, and had also approved a plan to bring diversity in its ranks but that hasn't stopped several studios from threatening to pull out of the Globes.

On Thursday, two newer members, Diederik van Hoogstraten from Netherlands and Wenting Xu of China resigned from the HFPA, and vowed to form a competing group of journalists, reported LA Times.

In their letter to the HFPA, the duo said they found it untenable to continue to remain a part of the group.

'The majority of the membership resists deep change, despite our lawyers and spokespersons suggesting otherwise publicly. Internal opposition to the status quo has been stifled. Critical voices have largely been ignored,' they said.

Hoogstraten and Xu said the new bylaws written by the consultants of Ropes & Gray have been 'watered down' to meet the demands of a 'majority of the current Board and many change-averse members'.

They described the culture of the HFPA as one of 'insulation, silence, fear of retribution, self dealing, corruption and verbal abuse.' 'Expanding the Board to 12 HFPA members and merely three outsiders, for example, all but guarantees the current culture will continue to thrive,' they added.

The duo called the HFPA a place where 'bullying of members by members is left unquestioned and unpunished'.

'The HFPA continues to accommodate a toxic environment that undermines professional journalism,' Hoogstraten and Xu said.

The two asserted that they believe in 'welcoming, healthy, respectful place' where working international journalists in Los Angeles can develop and thrive.

'After we leave we plan to build a transparent, professional and inclusive organisation for the current and next generations of reporters who simply want to work together, without the toxicity,' they ended their letter.

In its response, the HFPA said it was 'disappointed' with 'some members' for trying to 'splinter our organization and sow division and doubt'.

'While some may have their own agendas, the Board and membership of the HFPA share one, common goal — passing the transformational change our organisation needs,' it said.

The body said the changes that have been brought in the organisation are 'only the beginning'.

'This is a crucial time for our organisation, and we stand ready to collaborate with our members and outside groups to make this change a reality. We are forever grateful to the members that have decided to stay the course during this historic and trying time to help make this new era a reality for the HFPA,' it added.

In July, the full HFPA membership is expected to vote on additions and amendments to the new bylaws. PTI RB RB BK BK

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