On Tuesday, the HFPA said that it will be increasing membership to a minimum of 100 members this year with a requirement that at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. The statement came after more than a 100 PR firms called on the association to "swiftly manifest profound and lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos and pervasive practice of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption endemic to the HPFA" in an open letter.
In a lengthy statement, the HPFA said they were committed to making necessary changes within their organization. They also laid out steps they were taking, which includes analyzing policies, practices, member recruitment activities and member selection processes through the prism of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
"We also acknowledge that we should have done more, and sooner," the statement reads in part. "While we recognize this is a long-term process, we will continue to be transparent, provide updates, and have confidence in our ability to change and restore trust in our organization and the Golden Globes."
During this year's Golden Globes ceremony on Feb. 28, the HPFA acknowledged that changes had to be made when it comes to representation, following an outcry after an investigation by The Los Angeles Times. A portion of the Times investigation brought awareness to the fact that the HFPA's 87-member group of international journalists currently has no Black members. The Globes previously received criticism for not including any Black-led contenders, like One Night in Miami, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Da 5 Bloods or Judas and the Black Messiah, in the Best Picture category.
"We recognize we have our own work to do," Helen Hoehne, HFPA Vice President, said. "Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization."
Board chair and ex-president Meher Tatna noted, "We must also ensure that everyone, from all underrepresented communities, gets a seat at our table and we are going to make that happen."
President Ali Sar concluded, "That means creating an environment where diverse membership is the norm, not the exception. Thank you and we look forward to a more inclusive future."