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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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Activism

Kim Kardashian West, Paulina Aguirre & More Stars In Celebrity PSA Campaign “I Stand With Armenia and Artsakh”

In an effort to educate Western audiences on the humanitarian crisis happening now in Armenia due to the unprovoked attack by Azerbaijan and Turkey, USATVProductions/USArmenia TV and the Armenian National Committee of America  (ANCA/www.anca.org) have launched the PSA campaign “I Stand With Armenia and Artsakh.” 

At launch, multiple Grammy-winner Paulina Aguirre, Yasmine Al Massri (Quantico), Ed Begley Jr., Andrea Martin, Serj Tankian (System Of A Down), Kim Kardashian West and lifestyle and fashion expert Lawrence Zarian have lent their support to the campaign, with more celebrities to be joining daily.


Videos Courtesy of USATV Productions.

Recently, USATV’s Bagrat and Vahag Sargsyan and their friends successfully arranged for 20 tons of urgently needed humanitarian aid that was shipped via a Boeing 757 charter aircraft from Los Angeles to Armenia. The shipment included vital necessities to help the citizens of Artsakh, victims of the unprovoked war waged against Armenia and Artsakh. Financial support for the mission was provided by Sargsyan friends, Harutyun Harutyunan, Dr. Stephan Gevorkian, Vardan Seropyan, Gary & Hakop Taglyan, Arthur Levonyan and Nelson Patatanyan, along with the collective efforts of LA Armenians and Armenia Fund.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

Brothers Bagrat and Vahag Sargsyan founded the first commercial private television company in Armenia, after the country became independent. Following in the footsteps of their father Artem Sargysan, a renowned scientist, academic and TV personality, the brothers built the largest media conglomerate in Armenia and Eastern Europe, including four national television networks, a publishing house, cable distribution companies and film studios.  In 2008, they moved to the United States and purchased the FCC licensed station KIIO Channel 10 in Los Angeles and formed USATV productions and broadcasting company.  Since USATV’s inception, the Sargsyans have produced many television formats in Armenia and Eastern Europe, including NBC’s The Voice and Deal Or No Deal, Minute to Win It (GSN) and Fort Boyard (France 2/Channel 5 UK), and in the US, more than 48 television series, five feature films, and acted as executive producer for recent features American Skin (2019) and Hunter’s Moon (2020) and series Nova Vita (2020),  among others.

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Activism

How Black Lives Matter Is Changing Our View On Film & TV

A look at Hollywood’s strained relationship with race and how the Black Lives Matter is changing our view on TV and film. There is a reckoning In Hollywood. Books, podcasts, documentaries exploring racial issues in America are topping charts and being newly featured on streaming services. Meanwhile, artworks deemed racially insensitive — or downright racist — are getting banned. Is the long-overdue reckoning in Hollywood a movement or just a moment? We caution you our story unavoidably includes insensitive images.

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Activism

Zindzi Mandela Laid to Rest In South Africa

Zindzi Mandela speaks onstage during the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 9, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.
Zindzi Mandela speaks onstage during the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 9, 2013.

The daughter of one of the world’s most renowned political leaders and South Africa’s first Black President Nelson Mandela was laid to rest on Friday. Zindzi, the youngest daughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela, was buried at Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg.

She was laid to rest next to her mother, who passed away in 2018.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa praised the Mandela family for revealing that Zindzi had Covid-19 at the time of death. The gesture will “encourage acceptance” of those infected, Mr. Ramaphosa said. “I would like to thank the Mandela family for the very important gesture of sharing this information with the nation. This is a virus that affects us all, and there should never be any stigma around people who become infected,” he tweeted ahead of Zindzi Mandela’s funeral.” The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only a handful of close friends, relatives and South African political figures attended the funeral service.

As South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela dedicated her life to honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela, becoming an activist in her own right. She co-founded the Mandela Legacy Foundation and was also the Managing Trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. She leaves behind four children.

Her son Zondwa said his mother’s passing was “an unfortunate loss” to the family and country. “I cannot describe the feeling. It has been an unfortunate loss,” Zondwa told national broadcaster SABC during the live telecast.

Describing her as a person full of love and affection, Zondwa said the family will keep their mother’s legacy alive by continuing with her work. “She survived the most brutal regime at an early age, and we thought that this crisis and this invisible enemy that we are faced with today, she is going to survive because she has seen worse,” said Julius Malema, the leader of the radical opposition EFF party. She added, “We are shattered. We are still in disbelief, but there is nothing we can do. She was fearless. She spoke her mind.”

Zindzi grew up at the height of anti-apartheid struggle. She suffered years of harassment and intimidation by the apartheid regime when her father was imprisoned on Robben Island.

There are only two of Nelson Mandela’s six children who are still alive – Zenani Dlamini, Zindzi’s sister; and Pumla Makaziwe Mandela, a daughter from his first marriage, to Evelyn Mase.

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