Scarlett Johansson has hit out at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – the organization behind the prestigious Golden Globe Awards. In a statement released Thursday, the 36-year-old actress, who has been nominated for five Golden Globes, accused the HFPA of tolerating sexism and urged others in the film industry to boycott the organization unless significant internal changes are made. ‘As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows,’ Johansson stated.
‘In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences.’ She continued: ‘Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole’.
The HFPA is made up of around 90 international entertainment journalists who ‘disseminate information about movies and television to the world through their various publications’. Each year they select the winners of the Golden Globe Awards – widely regarded as the second most prestigious film event after the Oscars.
Johansson’s statement may surprise some given that she has appeared to be resistant to woke culture and has a history of making controversial comments. She has defended her friend Woody Allen amidst allegations he sexually assaulted his step-daughter, and has spoken out against politically correct casting, saying: ‘As an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job,’ she told the publication.
Earlier this year, the HFPA came under fire after it was revealed that none of their 90 members were black. The organization’s track record of overlooking black- and minority-led films and television series at the Golden Globes has also been frequently criticized. Back in March, former president Philip Berk was expelled for forwarding an email dubbing Black Lives Matter a ‘hate movement,’ and two consultants hired to address the HFPA’s diversity issues quit over a lack of progress.
There were additional claims that the HFPA had not been inclusive enough to women or members of the LGBTQ community. The Time’s Up organization and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos have publicly critiqued the HFPA in recent months. Earlier this week, the HFPA approved a package of reforms following the high-profile backlash in bid to make their organization more inclusive.
They vowed to boost membership by 50 percent in the next 18 months, and promised to include black journalists. Additionally, they pledged to hire diversity consultants and end notoriously strict and opaque limits on who gets admitted. ‘Today’s overwhelming vote to reform the Association reaffirms our commitment to change,’ said HFPA president Ali Sar in a statement.
‘Because we understand the urgency and issue of transparency, we will be continuously updating the members as we move forward in making our organization more inclusive and diverse,’ he wrote. However, some stated that the reforms were not good enough and Johansson is not the first A-list star to speak out against the HFPA. Earlier this week, actor Mark Ruffalo blasted the organization just weeks after he took home is first Golden Globe Award for his role in the HBO miniseries I Know This Much Is True.
‘It’s discouraging to see the HFPA, which has gained prominence and profited handsomely from their involvement with filmmakers and actors, resist the change that is being asked of them from many of the groups that have been most disenfranchised by their culture of secrecy and exclusion,’ Ruffalo said in a statement to Deadline.
‘Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past. Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award’. He added: ”Our industry is embracing the opportunity for greater equality in this beautiful moment. It is not perfect and long overdue but it is clear what must happen and how. The Justice Movement is offering all of us, the HFPA, and every other entertainment entity, a good way forward.’