NBC Says It Will Not Air the Golden Globes in 2022
The group behind the awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, has been under pressure for its lack of Black members and its financial practices.,
NBCUniversal announced Monday that it would not broadcast the 2022 Golden Globes, an abrupt blow to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that puts on the film and television awards show. The association relies on the money the network pays for the rights to broadcast the ceremony, and NBC’s move throws the future of the show into doubt.
The group of roughly 86 journalists came under intense scrutiny as news investigations uncovered, among other things, its lack of diversity and its system of compensating members for their work on committees.
Last week the association approved changes that included increasing its membership by 50 percent over the next year and a half and hiring diversity consultants.
But NBCUniversal said in a statement: “We continue to believe that the H.F.P.A. is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the H.F.P.A. needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
In a statement issued Monday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association reiterated its commitment to change, called on its “partners in the industry” to work with them to make it happen, and said it was working toward systemic reform with “extreme urgency.”
A spokeswoman for NBCUniversal said the network was not severing its contract with the association, and that its goal was for the organization and the awards show to survive the current tumult. NBCUniversal largely approved of the group’s proposed changes, the spokeswoman said, but didn’t think they could be enacted in time for next awards season. A source close to the matter who isn’t authorized to speak publicly shared the network’s one quibble with the proposed membership increase: NBCUniversal would like to see the membership numbers doubled.
The announcement comes just days after NBC gave its blessing to the H.F.P.A.’s proposed changes: In a statement last week, the network said the plan “charts a course for meaningful reform.”
NBC was paying $60 million a year for broadcast rights. The audience for this year’s telecast fell 62 percent from the previous year’s, to 6.9 million.
The NBCUniversal decision was the most significant in a series of positions taken by movie and television studios and networks over the past several days.
On Sunday, WarnerMedia, home to Warner Bros. and HBO, sent a letter to the president of the press association expressing disappointment at the limited nature of the reforms the H.F.P.A. had pledged to undertake. As a result, WarnerMedia executives said they would “continue to refrain from direct engagement with the H.F.P.A., including sanctioned press conferences and invitations to cover other industry events with talent” until changes are implemented. The New York Times obtained a copy of the WarnerMedia letter on Monday.
Late last week, the co-chief executive of Netflix sent his own missive to members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Leadership Committee criticizing the size and scope of reforms the group had proposed and saying his company would be “stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made.”
Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, also released a statement Monday, saying, “We have not been working with the H.F.P.A. since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward.”
A wide-ranging Los Angeles Times article, published on Feb. 21, found, among other things, that the group had no Black members, had more than $50 million in cash on hand at the end of October, and paid large sums to members for serving on committees. A New York Times article on Feb. 23 explored the finances of the group, a tax-exempt nonprofit, and reported that it had paid more than $3 million in salaries and other compensation to its members and staff, and that a tax filing showed it had paid $1.3 million in travel costs one year.
During the Golden Globes telecast on Feb. 28, leaders of the group vowed to diversify its membership. On Thursday, members voted to institute a set of reforms that the group’s president, Ali Sar, said “reaffirms our commitment to change.” Officials said they were already compiling a list of diversity consultants and planned to increase membership more than 50 percent in the next 18 months. They also said they planned to hire a search firm to seek potential candidates to run the group, and had retained a law firm to help implement the reforms.
But those steps were not enough to mollify some studios like WarnerMedia, which argued, for instance, that “lasting and meaningful change to your membership goals” could be achieved more quickly than the 18-month timeline set out by the association.
“For far too long, demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests have been made to our teams and to others across the industry,” the letter from WarnerMedia executives said. “We regret that as an industry, we have complained, but largely tolerated this behavior until now.”
Actors have also spoken out against the organization in recent days.
Scarlett Johansson told Variety on Saturday that she stopped attending the group’s news conferences after “facing sexist questions and remarks by certain H.F.P.A. members that bordered on sexual harassment,” and urged the industry to step back from the show. And last week, Mark Ruffalo, who won a Golden Globe this year for his performance in “I Know This Much Is True” on HBO, told Deadline that the group’s proposed changes fell short. “I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award,” he said.
And Tom Cruise returned all three of his Golden Globes, a person with knowledge of the matter confirmed.