The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is one of the most mysterious organizations in the entertainment industry, if only because no one seems to know what the organization is doing even (if anything) beyond distribution. Golden Globe Awards every year, but a new trial filed by a Norwegian journalist named Kjersti Flaa (via The Hollywood Reporter) attempts to shed a rather unflattering light on the “culture of corruption” promoted by the HFPA. Unlike the Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences (which grows every year), the HFPA has only 87 members – many of whom are at least 70 years old – and the lawsuit accuses the organization of establishing rules specifically designed to ensure that these 87 people (and only them) continue to receive special treatment from film and television studios in the form of invitations to exclusive events and opportunities to interview big stars.
In addition, the lawsuit says that members are not allowed to compete with other members, so global markets are divided among members and no one is allowed to write for media for which another member writes. or a point of sale that competes with a point of sale that someone else is writing for. So let’s say, hypothetically, that you are an entertainment reporter from Country A. The HFPA already has a member covering the film industry for The Country A News, so you cannot join the HFPA if you also write for Country A. News. or if you’re writing for its competitor outlet, The Country A Tribune.
According to the lawsuit, this gave the HFPA the ability to reject potential members – who would like to have the access and benefits that HFPA members enjoy – based solely on whether or not they might have a. impact on another member’s ability to write fancy events, to interview celebrities or to (hypothetically) get the payola from filmmakers and film studios who want to boost their project’s Oscar chances. After all, a Golden Globe win is a big deal, and if you’re the one who chooses who wins a Golden Globe, that makes you A big deal.
Variety puts a fairly close point on this subject in its drafting, referring to what Flaa describes as “a cartel” based on how the HFPA illegally stifles competition. The prosecution’s allegations also go further, saying that there is no clear system in place to reject or approve members and that there is no weight given to the overall work of a candidate. Instead, their potential membership is meant to be based entirely on whether or not they might pose a threat to another member.
On top of all this, the lawsuit points out that the HFPA is listed as a 501 (c) (6) nonprofit, meaning it is tax exempt, despite the fact that – as alleged the lawsuit – it exists only to benefit its current members and not the entire community of foreign entertainment journalists who live in California. Apparently, the HFPA covers all travel expenses for its members, lobbying movie studios to provide its members with five-star hotel stays and gourmet meals at events, and pays members to do “little or nothing” in the service of the HFPA. For example, the costume says that the person who arranges the seating plan for the Golden Globes earns $ 20,000 per year, that there are two members in their 90s who receive $ 12,000 just for sitting on a committee, and that there are former HFPA presidents who get $ 1,000 a month for doing nothing. No wonder members are supposedly trying to keep their status as strong as possible.