HFPA to be wound down as Golden Globe changes completed

A little over two years since allegations of corruption and racism at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association brought the group to its knees, the man brought in to save the organisation has closed it down after transferring its assets – including the jewel in its crown, the Golden Globes – to his own companies.

Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries – and its partner company Dick Clark Productions – have acquired full control of what had become the second most influential awards in Hollywood after the Oscars, before being tarnished by the revelation that its membership – of around a hundred foreign journalists – included Asians, Arabs and Latinos but none of black African origin.

The money currently held by the HFPA, earned from the lucrative broadcast rights for the Golden Globes telecast, will be transferred into a new Golden Globes Foundation, to continue the group’s philanthropic activities.

Under the proposals, agreed last year but awaiting authorisation from California’s Attorney General, about 95 remaining members would become employees of Eldridge, paid to vote on the Golden Globes for five year.

For this year’s awards, Boehly brought on about 200 other foreign film writers to take part in the voting process, although they weren’t paid.

For much of their 8 decade existence, the Globes have been tainted by allegations of corruption – with many films, poorly regarded by the majority of critics, receiving nominations for awards, after members were flown around the world in luxury and handed expensive gifts. As a sign of the power, once wielded by the HFPA, nominations were only ever granted to films that staged exclusive press events, at which members got to have their photos taken with the celebrities. But it was the revelation that the group had no members of African origin, just months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, that proved to be the final nail in the coffin.

Boehly – whose other interests include the main entertainment industry press outlets Variety, Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, as well as Chelsea Football Club – was brought by the HFPA to serve as its interim CEO, but rather than rehabilitate the organisation, he brought the Globes within his own business empire and is now closing it down.

In a statement, the outgoing President of the HFPA, Helen Hoehne, said “We are excited to close on this much anticipated member-approved transaction and transition from a member-led organisation to a commercial enterprise.”

Boehly cut short the previous contract for televising the Golden Globes – after NBC pulled the show in 2022 – and he’s still looking for a broadcasting partner for the next ceremony, scheduled for 7th January 2024.

It’s unclear how the closure of the HFPA will affect outstanding legal cases; it’s currently considering an appeal against a judge’s decision to allow an ex-member, Husam Asi, to sue the group for racial and sexual harassment.