The Golden Globes will air under twin clouds, amid a pandemic and ethical questions

The HFPA and production business Cock Clark Productions extended their broadcast offer with NBC in 2018, under an eight-year arrangement that pays millions for broadcast rights to the event to the not-for-profit company, which includes 87 global members.

Yet as the Los Angeles Times reported, concerns about member involvement in luxurious junkets and hotel stays have actually been restored in the middle of accusations of leaving out certified reporters, and payments amounting to almost $2 million from the company to its members, according to monetary files seen by the Times, supporting their earnings throughout the pandemic.
As an example of habits that possibly contravenes of journalistic principles, the Los Angeles Times reported that Paramount Network, which initially established “Emily in Paris,” dealt with less than 3 lots HFPA members to remain at the first-class Peninsula hotel in Paris to promote the series. “Emily” ultimately premiered on Netflix, and based upon a combined vital action, its Globes elections triggered some head-scratching when the current lineup of competitors was revealed.

When called by CNN, an agent for Paramount decreased to comment.

Another current Los Angeles Times story — which anonymously priced estimate HFPA members — likewise raised problems about the company’s absence of any Black members. Although a number of Black stars got elections, critics indicated significant oversights this year in regards to TELEVISION programs and films including individuals of color.

In a statement to CNN, an HFPA spokesperson said regarding payments to members that the group regularly revisits its guidelines “to ensure accountability and transparency.” The organization also stated that it recognizes the need to bring in Black members and others from underrepresented backgrounds, and has “not ruled out” changing its rules to widen the pool of applicants.

Globes hosts and recipients have made frequent quips about the event’s reputation over the years. Ricky Gervais joked during his 2012 monologue that the Globes are “just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem.” The late Robin Williams once described the event as “foreplay for the Oscars.”

Lily Collins in 'Emily in Paris,' a Netflix series that received a pair of Golden Globe nominations (Carole Bethuel/Netflix).

More serious criticisms are hardly new either. Although the presentation got a boost in exposure when NBC acquired broadcast rights in the 1990s, articles about the group’s journalistic credentials and cozy relationship with studios have seemingly surfaced every few years. In 2003, the cable channel Trio aired a documentary titled “The Golden Globes: Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secret.”

Still, that network has since gone out of business and the Globes have endured, with the 78th edition to air this Sunday. The telecast consistently ranks as one of the highest-rated award shows in the annual calendar, usually behind only the Oscars and Grammys. Last year’s awards averaged 18.3 million viewers, per Nielsen data.

Despite its long affiliation with the Golden Globes, when contacted by CNN, NBC had no comment about the latest concerns raised regarding the HFPA.

This year’s event will again be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, employing a bicoastal format in response to Covid-19 logistics, with Fey in New York and Poehler in Los Angeles.

The Globes have survived in part because they serve a clear purpose for all interested parties. The beneficiaries include networks, studios and, increasingly, streaming services that promote their elections; NBC, providing the network another high-rated event; and Hollywood talent, which welcomes the awards and adulation.

As long as those stars continue to show up, that’s unlikely to change. The latest reporting, however, has renewed an old debate in media circles about how much attention should be paid to the results — long positioned as a bellwether for the Academy Awards — given doubts about the credibility of the company behind them.

NPR media critic Eric Deggans tweeted that while the Worlds remain a big occasion, “we can remind our audience how flawed the awards are, even as we talk about them.” Variety editor Claudia Eller wrote that the HFPA should “make all of the substantial changes needed to actually clean up its act — as it has vowed to do for far too many years.”

This year’s awards were delayed by nearly two months due to the pandemic. That shift has actually rippled through the awards season, which will culminate with the Oscars in April.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.