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Scarlett Johansson joins criticism over Golden Globes controversy

Monitoring Desk

Actor Scarlett Johansson has joined criticism of the body behind the Golden Globe Awards over how it plans to tackle discrimination.

Golden Globe organisers the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has been accused of a lack of diversity and shadowy workings.

Earlier this week the body voted in reforms to widen its membership.

But Ms Johansson is among stars and industry figures who say it still needs “fundamental reform”.

Why are the Globes being criticised?

The Golden Globes are second only to the Oscars in terms of profile, but organisers have been accused of discriminatory practices, accepting “freebies” and other ethical lapses.

In February, an exposé in the Los Angeles Times revealed there were no black people among the organisation’s 87 members who vote for the awards.

This week, the HFPA outlined a package of reforms to how it works in a bid to make the organisation more inclusive.

Golden Globes trophies
image captionThe Golden Globes is one of the year’s biggest and starriest awards ceremonies

They include widening its membership, with an emphasis on recruiting black members, and hiring diversity advisers. It also said it would loosen its cloak of secrecy and strict admission rules.

“Today’s overwhelming vote to reform the Association reaffirms our commitment to change,” said HFPA president Ali Sar in a statement on Thursday.

How have people responded to the reforms?

Many high-profile Hollywood figures have said the initiatives are not good enough.

Ms Johansson, who has been nominated for five Golden Globes, urged others in the film industry to boycott the organisation unless it makes significant internal changes.

The 36-year-old recalled facing “sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment”.

“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,” she said.

Ms Johansson’s Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo joined her, writing that the HFPA’s reforms were “discouraging” in a social media post on Friday.

“Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past,” he said. “Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award.

Meanwhile, Netflix and Amazon studios said they would stop doing business with the HFPA until it goes further with its reform plans.

Netflix chief executive Ted Sarandos said he was putting their relationship on hold “until more meaningful changes are made”.

Criticism of the HFPA burst into the open in February when the LA Times wrote its exposé detailing alleged ethical conflicts and other misconduct.

Following the story, more than 100 Hollywood PR firms threatened to advise the stars they represent not to work with the HFPA if changes were not made.

They accused the organisation of “discriminatory behaviour, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption”.

The same group have said that despite this week’s changes it will continue boycotting the HFPA.

The HFPA did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment.

Courtesy: BBC