Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a “racist hate movement”, Patrisse Cullors “the self-proclaimed trained Marxist,” was stated in an article that the President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) emailed to all of the HFPA members, the CEO, HFPA Attorneys and staff.
The article was written by Front Page Magazine about Patrisse Cullors founding member of Black Lives Matter, criticizing her recent purchase of a home in Topanga Canyon, California. The title of the Article “BLM Goes Hollywood.” Mr. Berk, who was born in South Africa has been a part of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for over 44 years, and served as President for eight of those years. Mr. Philip Berk no longer has a job with the organization. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association put out a statement reading in part, “Effective immediately, Philip Berk is no longer a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.”
Ms. Patrisse Cullors unfortunately has been harassed since the publishing of that article. In an interview with Lamont Hill of the Black News Channel, Patrisse Cullors addressed the article and the harassment that she has faced. She also set the record straight, telling Mr. Hill, that she is the Executive Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation and does not receive a salary or benefits. Since Black Lives Matter’s inception, she has earned money from speaking engagements and political education work totaling $120,000. But has not received any compensation after 2018. Ms. Cullors is a professor, she also has written two books one of which was on the New York Times’s Best Seller List. She also has a production company.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association firing Philip Berk is the least of their problems. They have come under repeated fire for not having any Black Members. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association was established in 1943 to report on U.S. Cinema abroad. They are also the voting block for the Golden Globe Awards, but still to this day, they have no Black members. I’ll come back to that later.
But first, a Los Angeles Times investigation found that the group regularly engages in questionable practices such as funding substantial payments to HFPA members to work on committees and footing the bill for HFPA members to participate in lavish, studio-subsidized junkets for films and TV shows that are competing for Globe nominations.
Recently a Norwegian entertainment journalist was denied membership by HFPA and filed a lawsuit against the group. In her lawsuit, Kjersti Flaa accused the HFPA of fostering a “culture of corruption, claiming that “the tax-exempt organization operated as a kind of cartel, barring qualified applicants — including herself — and monopolizing all-important press access while improperly subsidizing its members’ income. The group, Flaa asserted, was rife with ethical conflicts, with members accepting “thousands of dollars in emoluments” from the very same studios, networks and celebrities they conferred trophies upon, all of it hidden behind a “code of silence.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association addressed the lawsuit stating that the group “takes seriously its obligations as an organization and its dedication to foreign journalism and philanthropy, and it will vigorously defend against these baseless claims.” The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.
Now back to the fact that the organization has no Black members. To address the issue, the organization hired Dr. Shaun Harper, Professor and Executive Director of USC’s Race and Equity Center, as a diversity consultant, to help solve the problem. However, Dr. Harper resigned after meeting with Writer/Director/Producer Ava Duvernay and Writer/Director/Producer Shonda Rhimes. They are members of the group TIME’S UP, which consists of Black actors and actress demanding that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association immediately change their exclusionary practices. Also in the meeting were representatives from 13 Public Relations Firms that threatened to withhold talent from HFPA events unless HFPA make changes by May 6, 2021. Changes demanded by TIME’S UP include:
- The Hollywood Foreign Press Association must abolish Lifetime Membership.
- HFPA must increase their membership from 87 to 300.
- All current HFPA members must immediately resign, but can reapply after one year, providing that they have at least 5 years of “credible journalism” experience and 30 published pieces of coverage from the last 5 years.
- In addition, they have to publish at least 10 pieces of coverage per calendar year to retain voting rights.
- Hollywood Foreign Press Association members have to reapply every 10 years.
- Hollywood Foreign Press Association members should not be required to reside in Los Angeles.
I think that all of those requirements are reasonable, but I guess Dr. Harper couldn’t work with it. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association also hired Judy Smith, CEO of the crisis management firm, Smith & Company. You know the inspiration for the character of Olivia Pope on Scandal. Even she couldn’t help the HFPA.
Get it together Hollywood Foreign Press Association, it’s the 21st century. It’s time to get with the times. Remember TIME’S UP.