Two members have resigned from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as the organization is in the midst of a thorough overhaul.
Diederik van Hoogstraten of the Netherlands and Wenting Xu of China sent a letter of resignation to the HFPA leadership, the L.A. Times reported Thursday.
The two overseas journalists said in their letter that the HFPA is a place where “bullying of members by members is left unquestioned and unpunished. The badgering of talent and publicists: ditto.”
Van Hoogstraten and Xu also called out the practice of doling out large fees to members for serving on committees, writing, “Payments for internal jobs have skyrocketed lately. Morally and fiscally this self-dealing and sense of entitlement is a scandal in and of itself. But the lack of transparency goes beyond just the financials: since February most decision-making has happened behind closed doors.”
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“The majority of the membership resists transformative change,” the journalists wrote. “Internal opposition to the status quo has been stifled, and critical voices such as ours have largely been ignored.”
The HFPA responded with the comment on Thursday night, claiming that “at a time when the overwhelming majority of our members have chosen to be a part of change, it is disappointing that some members have decided to try and splinter our organization and sow division and doubt.”
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“While some may have their own agendas, the Board and membership of the HFPA share one, common goal — passing the transformational change our organization needs,” the statement went on. “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is an organization with more than 75 years of history. The amount of change that we have accomplished thus far is only the beginning. This is a crucial time for our organization, 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.”
NBC announced in May that it would not air the Golden Globes broadcast in 2022 after it was revealed that, in addition to questionable financial and ethical practices, the organization had not had any Black members in more than 20 years.
After announcing a major reorganization as a result of the findings, the HFPA is set to vote in July on amendments to a list of new bylaws. A new code of conduct released in May promises a commitment to diversity and inclusion and says the organization will “hold itself to the highest standards of conduct.” But the resignations call into question whether it will be possible to enact enough reforms to satisfy both outside critics of the organization’s practices and some of the members themselves.