The Rise and Fall of the Golden Globes

Viv Naude ‘22

January 9, 2022, marked the first time since the 1960’s that the Golden Globe Awards were not televised throughout the world. The first Golden Globes ceremony was held in 1944 and quickly became one of the most illustrious and exciting annual Hollywood events. Considered the “less uptight cousin of the Oscars,” the Golden Globes quickly became an exciting night for Hollywood stars to have some fun and honor each other’s work in the film industry [1]. However, a series of scandals centering around the Golden Globes’ creators, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has led to a not-so-graceful fall from grace for the famous event. 


The Hollywood Foreign Press, formally known as the Hollywood Foreign Correspondent Association (HFCA), was founded in 1943 by a group of journalists wanting to solidify their relationship with the film studios. In 1950, a group of journalists withdrew from the HFCA, complaining that too many non-professional journalists had been hired. These journalists formed the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and the two associations merged under that name in 1953. The group’s motto? “Unity Without Discrimination of Religion or Race.” [2]


Although much more apparent in recent years, the HFPA is no stranger to scandal. Their first major scandal occurred in 1982 when the HFPA was accused of accepting a luxury trip to Las Vegas by multimillionaire Meshulam Riklis as a bribe for awarding his wife, actress Pia Zadora, with the award of New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture. In 1996, the Washington Post published a series of allegations against the HFPA, including bribery and a voting body consisting of free-lancers, an appliance salesman, a retired engineer, and more non-journalists [3]. 


Despite their earlier scandals, the nail on the coffin for the Golden Globes occurred on February 21, 2021, when the LA Times published an expose accusing the HFPA members of collecting nearly 2 million dollars in payments from the group. Even more shocking, the report revealed that there were no Black members in the HFPA’s 87-member voting body [3]. Five days later, Time’s Up launched a campaign to protest the HFPA for its lack of diversity. The HFPA vice president addressed the outcries at the 2021 Golden Globes, vowing to introduce more Black journalists into their voting body. However, the scandal worsened when it was reported on April 18, 2021, that member and former eight-term president of the HFPA Philip Berk sent an email denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement as a “racist hate movement.” Berk was expelled from the HFPA two days later [4]. 


Following the expulsion of Berk, the HFPA has cracked down on the need to reform. In May, 2021, they announced a sweeping reform plan that would increase the membership of Black journalists by 50% over the next 18 months. However, this change was not enough. Organizations such as Netflix, Amazon, and WarnerMedia each released statements refusing to work with the HFPA until further reforms have been enacted. Actor Tom Cruise even returned his Golden Globe in response to the HFPA’s plan [3]. 


Though NBC decided not to air the 2022 Golden Globes, they remain hopeful that the HFPA will commit to meaningful change. Following the cancellation of the 2022 Golden Globes, the network announced that “Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023” [3]. If the HFPA is able to rework it’s organization in order to live up to its motto, the awards may return to our screens better than ever. 


[1] HFPA controversy timeline: Why 2022 Golden Globes almost weren’t

[2] How It All Began: The HFPA Started As HFCA | Golden Globes

[3] The Golden Globes: a History of Scandal

[4] The Golden Globes Scandal Timeline: HFPA Is Falling Apart in Real Time | IndieWire