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News Every Day |

HFPA Approves Reform Bylaws, New Board of Directors to Be Elected in September



Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association voted to approve new bylaws Wednesday, paving the way to reshaping the Golden Globes organization and leading to the election of an entirely new board of directors as well as new members.

The new bylaws, proposed by law firm Ropes & Gray, will restructure the organization along the lines of inclusion, accountability and ethics. It will also open the doors for interested journalists to apply for new membership and will require a re-accreditation process for all 84 of the HFPA’s existing members.

The new board of directors will be elected in early September. Interested new members can apply here, and under the new bylaws, new members will be selected by a credentials committee that will now consist of five non-HFPA members, three HFPA members, and the board president. Members seeking re-accreditation may begin to submit materials to the credentials committee on Friday.

“Three months ago, we made a promise to commit to transformational change and with this vote we kept the last and most significant promise in reimagining the HFPA and our role in the industry,” Ali Sar, HFPA board president, said in a statement. “All of these promised reforms can serve as industry benchmarks and allow us to once again partner meaningfully with Hollywood moving forward.”

“These new bylaws bring accountability, inclusion and transparency within our association, and today’s vote is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our members to reflect, educate themselves, and build a better organization,” Helen Hoehne, vice president of the HFPA, said in a statement. “But we know the hard work starts now, and we invite our partners throughout the industry to join us in our mission to bring Hollywood to the world in a more inclusive and diverse manner.” 

Both NBC and Dick Clark Productions praised the passage of the bylaws, calling it a “positive step forward.”

“We’re encouraged by the passage of the amended bylaws. This marks a positive step forward and signals the HFPA’s willingness to do the work necessary for meaningful change,” NBC said in a statement.

“We applaud the adoption of new bylaws, and the important policy revisions over the last few months, as the HFPA strives for reform. We look forward to seeing continued urgency, dedication and positive change in order to create a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and transparent future,” Dick Clark Productions said in a statement.

The HFPA’s current bylaws state that for any amendment of the bylaws, a first and second reading needs to take place before members can vote on the propositions. Additionally, for an amendment to pass, two-thirds of the membership would have to approve it. Ballots for final voting were sent out the week of July 20, and members had 10 days to vote and send back ballots. The final vote was tallied on Wednesday.

In July, TheWrap reported that members were revolting against Ropes & Gray because the firm suggested restricting older members from voting and travel, and further recommended that all travel expenses incurred by members for travel to press events or film festivals are now the responsibility of the member. To attend HFPA-sponsored events, members now have to execute a request to attend before any travel arrangements are made. Additionally, members are not allowed to travel to HFPA-sponsored film festivals after Nov. 1 until after they have submitted their nomination ballots for the Globes.

The board has already banned members from accepting gifts and other promotional items from studios, networks and talent. Accusations that members were being swayed by trips to Europe or other gifts have long been a contention against the HFPA.

You can read the new guidelines and next steps below.

Membership: 

  • The Southern California residency requirement is now eliminated, with any qualified journalist living in the U.S. who works for a foreign publication now eligible to apply.  
  • Eligibility is now expanded to journalists outside of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), and membership is now open to journalists who work in media beyond print.
  • The sponsorship requirement is now eliminated, and the role of the credentials committee will include third parties from credible journalistic and other organizations focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • New members will immediately be allowed to vote on the Golden Globes, vote on board members, and serve on committees. 
  • Member accreditation has been revised so that under the new process, all current members will be required to meet the standards as incoming members for re-accreditation of their membership. This process will take place annually, and members may immediately begin submitting materials to the credentials committee. 

Ethics:

  • A new grievance procedure will immediately go into effect to ensure accountability throughout the organization involving outside independent investigators. A new code of conduct will be signed by every member and subject to its provisions. 
  • Members will not be allowed to accept promotional materials or gifts from studios, publicists, actors, directors or others associated with motion pictures and television programs. 

Governance:

  • The Board of Directors will now include 15 total directors – 12 active members and three who are non-members. Members will elect the 12 internal directors. The Board will then select the three outside non-members. 
  • The HFPA will employ new Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Human Resource Officer and Chief Diversity Officer. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:

  • The majority of the members have already completed their initial diversity, equity and inclusion training sessions.  
  • Members will continue to participate in monthly DEI workshops as organized by DEI consultants, and complete mandatory sexual harassment training. 
  • All new board and committee members will undergo DEI and leadership training for their respective roles 


    What’s Next:
  • 8/5: The current Board of Directors will set Initial Election Meeting, as required by the new bylaws. 
  • 8/6: Members seeking re-accreditation can begin submitting materials to the credentials committee. 
  • Week of 8/8: Members who wish to be considered for elected office submit credentials to credentials committee; this must take place at least fifteen (15) days before the “Initial Election Meeting” 
  • Week of 8/15: Ballots are provided to active members for the election of a new, expanded board and credentials committee; this must take place at least ten (10) days before the ballots are due for tabulation 
  • Both the board and credentials committee, as currently comprised, remain in charge and functionally operational in their positions until the new, expanded board and credentials committee are seated 
  • 8/26 or 8/30: Due date for ballots for the election of Board of Directors and credentials committee to be returned to Ernst & Young 
  • 8/27 or 8/31: Election results for new, expanded board and credentials committee announced 
  • 8/30 or 9/1: New board and credentials committee are seated; intensive work begins immediately on the myriad issues facing the organization, including the selection of three non-member board directors, and five non-member credentials committee members  
  • 9/3 or 9/7: Election results for president are announced 

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