The decision to dissolve the HFPA is a positive one, but retaining voting members for the Golden Globes may not be the best solution.
The Golden Globes have been a joke and a scam in the entertainment business for decades. Only when Ricky Gervais hosted and demolished the entertainment industry on stage was there a reason to be concerned? Hollywood studios played along because they were manipulated by a group of pseudo-journalists who wanted to gain more influence. They also benefited from the publicity and donations made by performers.
Hollywood was rocked by the announcement that The Golden Globes were being bought. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organization, would be dissolved and the Globes, which were operated by the HFPA, would now become the intellectual property owned by Eldridge Industries along with Dick Clark Productions, Penske Media, and Penske Media. The changes announced to this venture do not inspire confidence that the problems will be rectified.
The HFPA is a long-time victim of scandals and problems. The HFPA has been a tightly-knit group that is a perfect example of the word “cloistered”. It had about 80 members who were journalists with very dubious credentials. Some members only produced a few blog posts or videos per year while major entertainment journalists were not allowed to join. The rule was that applicants who were denied by a single member could not be admitted.
The HFPA gentry was primarily viewed as “junket-whores”, people who would rush out to events for film promotion and media appearances to grab a few moments with celebrities. The HFPA gentry was more known for taking selfies rather than writing down stories. They also acted in a way that was not typical of professional journalists but of adoring fans. These were only the mildest of complaints.
Throughout the years the Globes and HFPA have been the subject of numerous scandals. Payola and bribes were a common theme. Certain films or performers would receive strange nominations or awards only to learn later that the studios paid for them. One example was the nomination of “Burlesque”, a film that is laughably bad. HFPA members received a luxury trip to Vegas and a Cher concert. Netflix’s “Emily in Paris” became a focal point recently when members jetted to the French set.
Other forms of corruption have been exposed, besides gifts and luxury trips. Members have been known for selling their tickets to the Golden Globes for tens and thousands of dollars. The group, which claimed to be non-profit, found ways to reward members by giving token jobs and committee assignments. This new business arrangement does not seem to be leading to any solutions.
This is going to start as a private for-profit company. In addition, the majority of members will not only be retained but many will also be offered paid positions. Other members will have jobs creating content for the Golden Globes Website. A second issue is the industry connections. Eldridge owns a stake in A24, a Hollywood movie studio. Penske owns the major Hollywood news publications Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. This could raise questions about inappropriate coverage or promotion.
The ceremony last year, which was dropped by NBC due to another scandal, had barely six million viewers. This was an overhaul that had been long overdue. Hollywood has tolerated these ethical lapses for generations, despite all the controversy and the years.
The reason is simple: They are all prostitutes in this town.
The Golden Globes is the first award show of the new year. The Golden Globes also honor films in two different categories: Drama and Comedy/Musical. The studios can use the doubled number of nominations to promote their films and launch campaigns for Academy Awards. Through the promotion of films and donations made to foundations in their names, performers also benefit.
Golden Globes have been an established way to gain attention and generate buzz during awards season for many years. They can bribe corrupt voters in order to receive those coveted nominations.