The CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, announced on May 6 that he will be boycotting the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) until it makes ethical and “demographic” reforms.
The HFPA, the organization which puts on the Golden Globes ceremony each year, has been accused of several ethical breaches in the past. A number of people in Hollywood have also pointed out the group’s lack of ethnic diversity.
In his public letter, Sarandos stated that Netflix will be “stopping any activities” with the HFPA and Golden Globes “until more meaningful changes are made.”
The Greek-American Sarandos sent out the letter shortly after HFPA voted on some reforms within the organization. However, some members didn’t back the reforms, and according to many in the industry, the proposed reforms were not nearly enough to address the depth and breadth of the HFPA’s problems.
The Netflix CEO stated “Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”
Golden Globes Scandals
At the latest 78th Golden Globe Awards, Netflix received 42 awards and ten nominations from the committee. This was more than any other studio or streaming service.
Clearly, HFPA cannot afford to be on Netflix’s bad side. In addition to Netflix, Time’s Up and more than 100 PR firms sent similar statements of displeasure to HFPA with their limited reforms.
One of the latest scandals to rock the group was the nominations awarded to “Emily in Paris.” The show, an escapist comedy with mediocre reviews which dealt with plenty of accusations of tone deafness and racism, picked up some surprising Golden Globe nominations.
It later came out that the producers of the show had flown members of the HFPA out to Paris on a luxury set visit. This brought up past accusations of HFPA engaging in a “culture of corruption,” as stated in the Los Angeles Times.
Reactions to Sarandos’ statement in Hollywood
Reactions within the industry, especially from Black creators, were very positive. Director Ava DuVernay tweeted out: “Damn. This is a big deal. Props to Netflix for being first to take a stand.”
Shonda Rhimes, the creator behind hit shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” stated “once again, Netflix shows how it can and should be done. This is how to be the change.”
HFPA responds to Ted Sarandos
As for the HFPA, it issued a response just a day after Sarandos’ letter. President Ali Sar emphasized that diversity and inclusion are at the core of the HFPA’s reforms. He also extended an invitation to Sarandos to have an open discussion about the future of the organization.
As Sar said, “we would love to meet with you and your team so we can review the very specific actions that are already in the works. An open dialogue would help to ensure that we are addressing these concerns as quickly as possible.”
Netflix has been at the forefront of many creative reforms within Hollywood for the past decade, especially under the leadership of Ted Sarandos. Having that same CEO, one of entertainment’s top power players, take on the HFPA and push reforms is sure to make some industry wide changes.
Sarandos has previously spoken to Greek Reporter about Netflix’s role in spearheading change within Hollywood.