Two members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the body that organises the Golden Globes, have resigned, denouncing the organisation as “toxic” in a letter obtained by the LA Times.
In their letter, Wenting Xu and Diederik van Hoogstraten said that “staying inside the association is no longer tenable for us”. They list a number of reasons, including that “the majority of the membership resists deep change”, new rules to improved diversity have been “watered down”, and that “fear of retribution, self-dealing, corruption and verbal abuse” are still central to the HFPA’s culture.
They added: “The HFPA continues to accommodate a toxic environment that undermines professional journalism. The bullying of members by fellow members is left unquestioned and unpunished. The badgering of talent and publicists: ditto … many members continue to believe we are victims, an attitude that guarantees no self-reflection or change will occur.”
Xu is a reporter for New York-based trade publication World Screen, while Van Hoogstraten is a producer and freelance contributor to a number of Dutch outlets including NRC Handelsblad and Het Financieele Dagblad, and is a former HFPA board member.
The HPFA has been under fire since the LA Times ran an exposé on the eve of the 2021 Golden Globes, citing allegations of corruption and impropriety as well as the absence of any black members. The organisation was subsequently hit by an industry boycott and the cancellation of the TV broadcast of the 2022 Globes. High-profile figures, including Tom Cruise and Scarlett Johansson, have been outspoken in their criticism. The HFPA has struggled to form a coherent response, with its plans for reform receiving further criticism from influential industry groups such as Time’s Up.
The LA Times reports that Xu and Van Hoogstraten have repeatedly complained to the HFPA, with one board member responding that Xu’s comments were a “hate campaign” and that she was “working … against us”.
In their letter, Xu and Van Hoogstraten say they plan to set up “a transparent, professional and inclusive organisation for the current and next generations of reporters”.