Golden Globes in Tatters as Two HFPA Members Resign over ‘Corruption and Verbal Abuse’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 26: Interior view during the 78th Annual Golden Globes Media Preview at The Rainbow Room on February 26, 2021 in New York, New York. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Two members of the media groups behind the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), have resigned, saying the organization is “a toxic place,” with a culture one “insulation, silence, fear of retribution, self-dealing, corruption and verbal abuse.”

“Staying inside the association is no longer tenable for us,” Dutch member Diederik van Hoogstraten and Chinese member Ting Ting Wengting Xu wrote in their resignation letter on Thursday, according to a report by The Wrap.

Van Hoogstraten and Xu claimed the majority of the 90-person membership “resists deep change, despite our lawyers and spokespersons suggesting otherwise publicly,” adding that “internal opposition to the status quo has been stifled,” and “critical voices have largely been ignored.”

The pair also call the new bylaws “watered down to meet the demands of a majority of the current Board and many change-averse members.”

“Insulation, silence, fear of retribution, self-dealing, corruption and verbal abuse are just a few ways to describe that culture,” the two continued. “And as Netflix founder Reed Hastings has said: a workplace culture cannot change. It’s a statement we have seen proven over the past four months.”

The HFPA was called out earlier this year for its lack of black members, to which the organization responded by saying it would commit to having a 13 percent black membership.

Last month, the embattled organization was also called out by actress Scarlett Johansson, who said she has faced “sexist questions” at press conferences, and urged the entertainment industry to “take a step back” from the HFPA.

Johansson’s public scrutinizing of the organization had also arrived on the heels of actor Mark Ruffalo becoming the first A-lister in Hollywood to distance himself from the HFPA.
After that, NBC announced it was canceling the 2022 Golden Globes, stating, “we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right” — referring to “meaningful reform.”

“Internal transparency, never great to begin with, has actually decreased since February, so members don’t know the details about the financials anymore,” Van Hoogstraten and Xu added in their resignation letter.

“There has been no contrition, no humility, little recognition of our faults, no inspiring leadership,” they continued. “We believe in a welcoming, healthy, respectful place where working international journalists in Los Angeles can develop and thrive.”

“That place is not the HFPA,” they added. “After we leave we plan to build a transparent, professional and inclusive organization for the current and next generations of reporters who simply want to work together, without the toxicity.”

The board members of the HFPA responded to Van Hoogstraten and Xu’s resignation letter in a statement to TheWrap, saying, “At a time when the overwhelming majority of our members have chosen to be a part of change, it is disappointing that some members have decided to try and splinter our organization and sow division and doubt.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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