- The Hollywood Foreign Press Association adopted reforms last week to address recent criticism it faced for its lack of diversity, but industry leaders are claiming that the organization has still not done enough.
- Netflix, Amazon, and Warner Bros. have all promised to sever ties with the HFPA, which runs the prestigious Golden Globes, until more meaningful changes are made.
- Actors like Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson have echoed those boycott calls and urged other industry leaders to do the same.
- On Monday, NBC announced that it will not air the 2022 Golden Globes but is open to broadcasting the show in 2023 if the group implements a productive plan.
NBC Will Not Air Golden Globes in 2022
NBC announced Monday that it will not air the Golden Globes in 2022 after several actors and studios announced that they would boycott the Hollywood Foreign Press Organization over concerns that it has not done enough to address its lack of diversity.
NBC has aired the show, which is put on annually by the HFPA, since 1996.
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right,” the network said in a statement. “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 February, a Los Angeles Times report found that none of the nearly 90 members in the group are Black. It also alleged a culture of corruption where members would accept luxurious gifts from studios that were promoting their shows, among other things. This prompted numerous calls for change.
Last week, the HFPA announced that it had approved a list of reforms, which include a hotline for reporting misconduct, increasing membership by 50% over the next 18 months with an emphasis on adding members of color, and creating a list of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultants. The group said it “will be continuously updating the members and the public as we move forward in making our organization more inclusive and diverse.”
Studios Pledge Boycott of HFPA Events
This, however, was not a strong enough response for major Hollywood players. By Friday night, both Netflix and Amazon vowed to part ways with the HFPA until more meaningful changes were made. On Monday morning, Warner Bros. did the same.
“While we commend the HFPA membership’s approval of the plan to move towards radical reform, we don’t believe the plan goes far enough in addressing the breadth of our concerns, nor does your timeline capture the immediate need by which these issues should be addressed,” a group of Warner executives said in a letter to HFPA President Ali Sar. “WarnerMedia Studios and Networks will continue to refrain from direct engagement with the HFPA, including sanctioned press conferences and invitations to cover other industry events with talent, until these changes are implemented.”
Their statement echoed the concerns of Netflix, whose CEO Ted Sarandos wrote that the HFPA has not gone far enough in correcting its “systemic diversity and inclusion challenges, or the lack of clear standards for how [HFPA] members should operate.”
Netflix’s choice to at least temporarily suspend ties with the HFPA is especially significant, as it was far and away the leader during the 2021 Golden Globes, picking up 10 trophies out of 42 nominations.
Actors Join Boycott Calls
Actors have also chimed in on the boycott calls, including Mark Ruffalo, who nabbed a Golden Globe himself just a few months ago.
“Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award,” he wrote on Twitter Friday.
He also slammed the group for resisting “the change that is being asked of them from many of the groups that have been most disenfranchised by their culture of secrecy and inclusion.”
He used the hashtag #ChangeIsGolden to encourage a boycott from Hollywood leaders. Others, including director Ava DuVernay, who has previously been critical of the HFPA, did the same.
Actress Scarlett Johansson released a statement of her own on Saturday, which was first reported on by Deadline.
“As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows. In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment,” the five-time Golden Globe nominee said. “It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences.”
“The HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition, and the industry followed suit,” 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.”
One of the first organizations to condemn the HFPA for its response was nonprofit Time’s Up, which advocates for victims of sexual assault and other workplace injustices. The group wrote an open letter Friday slamming the HFPA for giving “no specifics, no commitments to real accountability or change, and no real timeline” in its plan.
“These window-dressing platitudes are sorely lacking and hardly transformational,” the letter said. “Instead, these proposed measures ensure that the current membership of the HFPA will remain in the majority for years to come, and that the next Golden Globe Awards, which will have started by then, will be riddled with the same fundamental problems that have existed for years.”
See what others are saying: (The Los Angeles Times) (Variety) (The Wrap)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)
Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”
The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it.
Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene
“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film.
“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion.
“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”
Evans argued those opinions are outdated.
“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”
“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.
Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen
According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife.
Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.
The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.”
Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard.
“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”
YouTube Shorts Hits 1.5 Billion Monthly Logged-In Users
The company says the success of Shorts is bringing more viewers to its long-form content.
YouTube Shorts Reaches Milestone
YouTube launched its Shorts feature to compete with TikTok, the social media app that has taken over the internet with its bite-sized content. Its effort appears to be successful, as these new numbers put YouTube Shorts on track with the Gen Z-beloved app.
In September 2021, TikTok announced it had reached one billion monthly users. It has not released updated data since, but analysts projected it could reach 1.5 billion sometime in 2022.
While Shorts were created to rival the trending content on TikTok, YouTube has remained committed to the long-form content that has served as the platform’s bread and butter. In its announcement, the company touted that Shorts served as an entryway for viewers to watch more of this long-form content and discover new creators along the way.
In a release, YouTube said the synergy built by this expansion has allowed for “the rise of the multiformat creator.”
“Long-form content remains the best way for creators to deeply engage and develop long-term relationships with their audiences,” Tara Walpert Levy, YouTube’s Vice President of the Americas, said in a statement. “But Shorts offer an exciting, new way to be a part of a viewer’s journey and to introduce themselves and their whole portfolio to new audiences. This approach is yielding real results; channels uploading both short and long-form content are seeing better overall watch time and subscriber growth than those uploading only one format.”
The Competition Posed by TikTok
For its part, YouTube put a lot of effort into making Shorts thrive on its platform. Among other measures, the company created a $100 million fund incentivizing creators to make the quick videos.
The Google-owned video giant is far from the only social media company to try to wrestle with TikTok’s success. Facebook and Instagram began rolling out Reels two years ago while TikTok was experiencing a surge of pandemic users.
In turn, TikTok has also made changes to its app to keep up with other social platforms. Recently, it extended its maximum video length to ten minutes, meaning its short-form content may not always be so short.
By using short videos to drive more power behind longer content, YouTube is hoping to cover both bases. Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, said that even though the company is only at “the beginning” of its journey with Shorts, he knows “the product will continue to be an integral part of the YouTube experience moving forward.”