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Activism

HFPA Promises 13% Black Membership After Power PR Firms Threatens to Boycott the Golden Globes

Over 100 of Hollywood’s top publicity firms signed off on an open protest letter, asking for immediate change within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 

In the wake of the inequity and discriminatory practices in Hollywood, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is facing serious accusations of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, and alleged financial corruption. Over 100 of Hollywood’s top publicity firms penned an open letter, calling on the HFPA to state specific plans for reforming itself. 

The letter, which was sent late Monday, calls on the HFPA to make transparent its strategies to radically transform. The HFPA received backlash from an exposé published in the LA Times on February 21 which unveiled the powerful group that dictate all the nominees and winners of the Golden Globes each year. The 87 current members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association come from a wide variety of background, from seasoned film reporters to more obscure international outlets. The exposé detailed the following: members receiving lavish gifts from studios and celebrities, members selling gifts for money, and one account of a member allegedly selling his Golden Globes ticket for a whopping $39,000. HFPA also drew criticism for its lack of diversity as there are no black members. 

Prior to the Golden Globes on February 28, Time’s Up launched a campaign calling on the HFPA to state specific plans for change. On March 9th and 10th, over a hundred of showbiz’ most powerful publicity firms began composing a letter.

Greg Goecker, COO & General Counsel
Ali Sar, President
Meher Tatna, Board Chair
Hollywood Foreign Press Association
646 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

As publicists we collectively represent the vast majority of artists in the entertainment industry. We call on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to swiftly manifest profound and lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos and pervasive practice of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption endemic to the HFPA, funded by Dick Clark Productions, MRC, NBCUniversal and Comcast.

In the last decade our industry has faced a seismic reckoning and begun to address its failure to reflect and honor the diversity of our community, yet we have witnessed no acceptance of responsibility, accountability or action from the HFPA, even as systemic inequity and egregious behavior are allowed to continue. We collectively and unequivocally agree that transformative change in your organization and its historical practices is essential and entirely achievable. We want to be part of the solution.

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.

While we stand ready to support your good faith efforts, please know that anything less than transparent, meaningful change that respects and honors the diversity and dignity of our clients, their colleagues and our global audience will result in immediate and irreparable damage to the relationship between our agencies, our clients and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and those who sanction the institutional inequity and insular culture that currently define it.

The eyes of the industry and those who support it are watching.

Respectfully,

42 West
Advantage PR
Agence Contact
align Public Relations
American Entertainment Marketing (AEM)
Anderson Public Relations Group
Array
Ascend Public Relations Group
BazanPR
Bespoke Publicity
Carol Marshall Public Relations
Cassandra Butcher PR & Marketing
Cinematic Red PR
CLD Communications
Core PR Group
DawBell
DDA
Detail PR
E2W Collective
Elzer & Associates
Flash Forward Publicity
Forefront Media
Full Coverage Communications
Guttman Associates Public Relations
Heidi Schaeffer Public Relations
Herring PR
Hive Collective
ICON PR
ID
Image Management PR
imPRint
Independent Public Relations
Indie PR
Integrated PR
JCPR
JDS
Jill Fritzo Public Relations
Jonas PR
JONESWORKS
Joy Fehily Management + Consulting
Katrina Wan PR
Katz Public Relations
Kovert Creative
LongstreetWorks
LSG Public Relations
Luna Entertainment
Main Stage Public Relations
Marleah Leslie & Associates
Marque PR
McClure & Associates Public Relations
Meghan Prophet Public Relations
MLC PR
MPRM Communications
MRC Publicity and Marketing
Nancy Seltzer & Associates
Narrative
NMA PR
Patricola Public Relations
Paula Woods Consultants
Persona PR
Personal PR
Pinnacle Public Relations
Platform Public Relations
PMG-Platform Media Group
Polaris PR
Portrait PR
PR Machine
Premier
PRStudio USA
Presse Public Relations
Principal Communications Group
Prism Media Group
Prosper PR
Public Eye Communications
Rebel PR
Red Sea Entertainment
Relevant
Rogers & Cowan/PMK
Rosenfield Media Group
Rowe PR
Schure Media Group
Sechel PR
Shelter PR
Slash Agency
Slate PR
Strategic Heights Media
Strategic Public Relations
SYStrategies & PR
TCOPR
Tencer & Associates
The Chamber Group
The Collins Jackson Agency
The Initiative Group
The Lede Company
The Oriel Company
The Samonte Group
True Public Relations
TS Collective
VanIden Public Relations
Viewpoint
Vision PR
Wolf Kasteler
ZTPR

Hours later, HFPA responded, pledging to admit at least 13 Black journalists into its membership. “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.”

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Awards

Golden Globes 2021: The Coziest, Fan-Favorite Looks From Home

Awards season 2021 kicked off with the first-ever virtual Golden Globes on Sunday night. While many presenters and nominees dressed up for the occasion as they dialed in from home, a few stars took the liberty to ditch the formal attires this time around for a much cozier show.

Jason Sudeikis went live in a tie-dye hoodie, paying homage to what could have been awards season’s biggest loungewear party. The 45-year-old actor won his very first Golden Globe for Best Performance in a Television Series – comedy or musical – for “Ted Lasso”. While the internet applauded the star for being relatable and real in times of pandemic, Sudeikis told reporters backstage that he shares a special connection to that hoodie, which was from his sister’s New York City-based dance studio called @Forward_Space. 

Bill Murray was the epitome of #weekendgoals as he appeared in a Hawaiian shirt in his backyard. Since Golden Globes is known to be the unofficial kick-off party to Awards Season – and the only red carpet where alcohol is served to the celebrities – it is only fitting that Murray made a toast to the occasion with a cool drink in his hand!

Jodie Foster ditched the gown for a set of printed pajamas as she received a win for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Mauritian”. With her partner Alexandra Hedison by her side and their dog, she couldn’t have looked more cozy. 

Chloe Zhao, who made Golden Globes history for being the first woman of color, first Asian woman and second woman ever to win Best Director, also appeared in a T-shirt. 

Joaquin Phoenix presented the award in a mostly empty auditorium in a casual hoodie over a shirt and tie. The Oscar-winner famously stated last awards season that he intended to wear the same tuxedo throughout the shows in an attempt to reduce waste.

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Entertainment

Kamala Harris’ First Vogue Cover Sparks Racial Controversies

(POP NEWS EDITION) Vice President-elect Kamala Harris graced the cover of the February 2021 issue of Vogue, but controversy over the selected cover photo overshadowed her magazine debut.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stepped into the fashion realm as the cover star of American Vogue’s February 2021 issue. 

While the photoshoot intended to be a progressive step toward increased representation for women of color and women in power in high fashion media, critics are speaking out against the high fashion publication for the apparent whitewashing of her skin tone and the photoshoot falling short of Vogue’s editorial standards. 

The photograph, released on Twitter, showed Harris with her arms crossed, wearing a dark suit and her trademark Converse sneakers in front of a pink and green backdrop – an ode to Harris’ sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Twitter users quickly called out the magazine, stating that the magazine appeared to have lightened Harris’ skin. A source from Harris’ team says that the final cover image is not the photograph both sides agreed on. Apparently, Harris’ team, along with the editorial team at Vogue and Anna Wintour, selected the photo of Harris donning a light blue suit. A few hours later, Vogue shared the second image. 

The images were shot by 26-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell, one of the youngest African-American photographers to have shot the cover of Vogue. Mitchell previously shot Beyoncé for Vogue’s famed September issue.

Neither Mitchell nor Harris’ team has issued a statement surrounding the controversies. The Los Angeles Times reports that Vogue released a statement defending its artistic choices, including depicting Harris as more casual to reflect her “authentic, approachable nature, which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden-Harris administration.” 

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