The members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, mired in controversy for the past year and a half over diversity and ethics concerns, have agreed to a new venture with Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries LLC to establish the HFPA as a for-profit organization that would run the Golden Globes and spin off its charitable efforts into a non-profit group.
The deal will result in the development of staff and an executive team, according to a statement issued by the HFPA on Thursday. Additional Golden Globes voters will also be added to increase the size and diversity of the available voters for the annual awards. (The statement does not indicate whether the new voters will receive full membership status and privileges.)
A source familiar with the deal said it includes a $75,000 annual salary for every HFPA member for five years. HFPA declined to answer questions from THR besides a statement provided.
The HFPA said that Boehly was not part of the review, recommendation or approval process.
“This is a historic moment for the HFPA and the Golden Globes,” HFPA president Helen Hoehne said in a statement. “We have taken a decisive step forward to transform ourselves and adapt to this increasingly competitive economic landscape for both award shows and the journalism marketplace.”
She added: “We are excited to move forward with a mandate to ensure we continue our support for increasing diversity in all areas and maintaining our life-changing charitable and philanthropic efforts.”
After a February 2021 LA Times exposé that revealed that the HFPA at that time included zero Black people among its then 87 members and had engaged in unethical conduct and suspect financial practices, a large contingent of publicists said they would boycott the HFPA until it made significant changes. NBC also pulled the Globes from its airwaves in 2022.
The HFPA has been methodically courting support from key Hollywood constituencies — studios and networks, publicists and philanthropic causes related to the entertainment industry — to galvanize a return to NBC in 2023, possibly on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The Hollywood Reporter, once owned by Eldridge, is now owned by Penske Media Corporation, which operates a joint venture with MRC.
Read the rest of the HFPA statement below.
The plan involves the creation of a new private company, which would acquire all rights for the Golden Globes intellectual property and be empowered to oversee the professionalization and modernization of the Golden Globe Awards.
In recent months, the HFPA’s financial advisor, Houlihan Lokey, yielded several submitted proposals from a number of companies and investment groups. Each proposal was reviewed and analyzed by the HFPA’s Special Committee, alongside its legal advisor, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
The HFPA embarked on this review of potential strategic alternatives in response to significantly changed market conditions for journalism and recent inquiries about potential partnership opportunities to leverage its attractive assets in a post-pandemic environment. It also sought to ensure viable pathways for future growth in order to generate financial stability for its significant charitable and philanthropic programs.
The Special Committee was composed exclusively of the three outside independent members of the HFPA’s board: Sharlette Hambrick, Jeff Harris and Dr. Joanna Massey.
“This review process was comprehensive, deliberate and thoughtful to ensure fairness and accuracy,” Hoehne added. “Per our bylaws, the decision ultimately rested with our membership, who voted on the proposal. As we look forward to celebrating our 80th anniversary event in January 2023, we are incredibly excited about this new era for our Association.”
The HFPA remains committed to continuing its process of change and transformation to address issues of diversity, governance, and conduct. The HFPA does not intend to comment further until it determines that additional disclosure is appropriate or necessary.