Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson recently made an official statement condemning the Hollywood Foreign Press Association following criticism against the organization for years of sexism and exclusivity.
“As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows,” Johansson said to Variety. “In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences.”
Johansson further accused the HFPA of being “legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition,” noting, “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.”
The HFPA has been criticized over the past few months for its dealings with both membership and campaigning during awards season. Among the specific complaints are the fact that HFPA requests entertainers to participate in its press conferences, but the conferences featuring Black actors consistently have poor turnout. It was also reported in February that the organization consisted of 100 journalists, none of whom were Black.
The HFPA-founded Golden Globes Awards was also accused of snubbing many Black movies this year. Specifically, films like Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received fewer nominations than critics expected, and no Black films were nominated for Best Motion Picture.
While the HFPA recently announced plans to make major changes regarding membership and representation, those proposals have been slammed by groups including the Time’s Up organization as performative and not significant enough.
“The window-dressing platitudes adopted yesterday are neither the transformation that was promised nor what our creative community deserves,” Time’s Up president Tina Tchen said after a meeting with Hollywood public relations firms and Color of Change, as reported by Deadline. “Any organization or sponsors that set themselves up to pass judgment on our vibrant community of creators and talent must do better,” Tchen added.
Netflix also cut ties with the HFPA this week, while Johansson’s Avengers co-star, Golden Globe winner Mark Ruffalo, told Deadline, “Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past. Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award.”