Shonda Rhimes Says HFPA 'Rejected' a 'Bridgerton' Press Conference Until Show Became a Hit

The Shondaland head revealed that the HFPA passed on an opportunity to learn more about the show ahead of the 2021 Golden Globes.

Shonda Rhimes is calling out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for rejecting a press conference for her record-breaking Netflix series, Bridgerton, until after the show become a "surprise hit." The Shondaland head took to Twitter to comment on the news, saying the "HFPA's house is on fire."

"HFPA rejected our press conference. Until it was a 'surprise hit' (Grey's, Scandal, Murder -SURPRISE!) And yet they STILL asked me to show up in person to present at the Globes. We're not the only ones. This is why HFPA's house is on fire.They lit the flame w/their own ignorance," Rhimes tweeted in response to reports the HFPA rejected requests to hold press conferences for major projects with Black-led casts in recent years.

The HFPA addressed not having any Black members during the 2021 Golden Globes last month. Three HFPA members took the stage with a short message.

"We recognize we have our own work to do," said Helen Hoehne, HFPA Vice President. "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."

A snub from the HFPA hasn't stopped Bridgerton's momentum. The Regency drama has been renewed for season 2 and is set to start filming this spring.

Shonda Rhimes attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at on Feb. 9, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. - David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

While the first season followed Daphne Bridgerton's (Phoebe Dynevor) entrance into the marriage market, which culminated with her and the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) saying "I do" and welcoming a child, the second season will turn the focus to Daphne's older brother, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), as did The Viscount Who Loved Me, the second book in Julia Quinn's series on which the show is based.

"It’s just going to get more exciting and convoluted and sexier, I think," Bailey told ET of Bridgerton's second season. "[It will] be pushing boundaries every single way. The story is going to be really exciting."

The story itself is largely unknown, but viewers can take some clues from The Viscount Who Loved Me, which follows Anthony after his decision to tie the knot. In the book, Anthony and his would-be wife's biggest obstacle is her sister, Kate Sheffield, who's described as a "spirited schemer" who's "the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom."

"Having read the second book, if Anthony gets to meet anyone half as brilliant as Kate Sheffield is, then he’s going to be a very lucky man," Bailey said.

Watch the video below to hear more on what Bailey says is in store for season 2.



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