US actress Scarlett Johansson on Saturday urged the film industry to “step back” from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) as criticism of the opaque film industry group, which controls the Golden Globe awards, continues to mount for sexism and racism.
The Avengers star said in a statement that the “HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition.”
Johansson said that “as an actor promoting a film,” participating in the organization’s news conferences and award shows “has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment.”
“Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA,” she added.
The actress’ stance follows a letter from Netflix chief executive officer Ted Sarandos on Friday to the organization stating that the streaming giant would not participate with the Globes unless the group pledges to reform itself.
That was followed by Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, who said in a statement that Amazon had “not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward.”
In February, it was revealed that the group had no black members.
In March, a former HFPA president was found to have referred to Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement” and its cofounder Patrisse Cullors as a “self-proclaimed ‘trained Marxist.’”
In his letter, Sarandos said he had hoped the organization “would acknowledge the breadth of issues facing the HFPA,” but did not believe these proposed new policies would “tackle the HFPA’s systemic diversity and inclusion challenges.”
As a result, he said, Netflix was “stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made.”
Netflix carries considerable weight at the Golden Globes, with 42 nominations this year and six wins.
A devastating Los Angeles Times expose earlier this year portrayed the HFPA as a pseudo-slush fund for semi-retired and often obscure film industry reporters and critics.
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