The organization behind the annual Golden Globes Awards show is hiring a chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer to address a public relations crisis stemming from the revelation that the group has no black people in its voting membership.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association also said it would clean up some of its business practices by putting restrictions on gifts members receive from studios. In the past, members regularly accepted overseas junket trips and other studio freebies that were commonly viewed within the industry as bribes for votes.
In an announcement sent to multiple news outlets Monday, the HFPA acknowledged the difficulties it has experienced in recent weeks.
“We have engaged in much-needed, deep introspection with the help and guidance of our outside advisors, experts in diversity and inclusion, and our media partners. Together, we have created a roadmap for transformational change in our organization,” the HFPA’s board said.
The group reiterated it would increase the number of minority members, with the goal to grow its membership by 50 percent during the next 18 months.
The move comes as the Golden Globes saw its ratings plummet by a whopping 62 percent this year. Last year’s NBC telecast — which was hosted by Ricky Gervais — garnered four times the ratings in the 18-49 age demographic.
Long the butt of jokes in Hollywood, the HFPA currently consists of close to 90 nominal journalists from foreign media outlets covering the entertainment industry. In reality, many members are affiliated with publications of questionable journalistic legitimacy or have no journalistic affiliation at all.
It remains unclear if the HFPA will start allowing legitimate journalists to join its voting membership.