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strike

Entertainment Industry Could Collapse If Writer And Actor Strike Isn’t Settled By September, Says Barry Diller 

Barry Diller, the chairman and senior executive of IAC and Expedia Group and former Hollywood studio chief, was recently interviewed by CBS’ ‘Face The Nation’ where he stated that Hollywood executives and top-paid actors should take a 25% pay cut to narrow the gap between their salaries and those on the lower end of the pay scale. 

Diller also discussed that if a deal isn’t settled by September 1st, we could see the industry completely collapse. 

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“There’s no trust. You have the actors union saying, ‘How dare these 10 people who run these companies earn all this money and won’t pay us?’ While, if you look at it on the other side, the top 10 actors get paid more than the top 10 executives. I’m not saying either is right. Actually, everybody’s probably overpaid at the top end,” Diller explained. 

“The one idea I had is to say, as a good-faith measure, both the executives and the most-paid actors should take a 25 percent pay cut to try and narrow the difference between those who get highly paid and those that don’t.”

The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May 2nd while SAG-AFTRA joined this past Friday. 

Diller stated: “What will happen is, if in fact, it doesn’t get settled until Christmas or so, then, next year, there’s not going to be many programs for anybody to watch. 

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So, you’re going to see subscriptions get pulled, which is going to reduce the revenue of all these movie companies, television companies, the result of which is that there will be no programs. And at just the time, strike is settled, that you want to get back up, there won’t be enough money. So this actually will have devastating effects, if it is not settled soon.”

“The truth is, this [Hollywood] is a huge business both domestically and for world export.… These conditions will potentially produce an absolute collapse of an entire industry.”

Diller also believes the fears over AI in the industry aren’t as serious as others may be making it out to be during this time, explaining how he doesn’t see a world where AI can logistically and realistically take the jobs of real writers and actors. 

“Yes, you can ingest all this stuff and spit out something that sounds like Shakespeare, but guess what? It is not original Shakespeare, and writers will get assisted, not replaced. Most of these actual performing crafts, I don’t think are in danger of artificial intelligence,” he explained.

flash

Cara Delevingne Addresses Paparazzi Photos and Reveals She Is Four Months Sober

Cara Delevingne revealed that she checked herself into rehab late last year after a period of heavy substance abuse and deep inner turmoil. The reckless lifestyle led to her concerning paparazzi photos in September 2022.

lawsuit

Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde’s Former Nanny Files Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Termination

Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde’s former nanny has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the pair after they abruptly fired her when she sought a three-day medical leave for depression and anxiety caused by their tumultuous breakup.

rust

Alec Baldwin to Be Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter for ‘Rust’ Set Shooting

Prosecutors announced that they will charge actor Alec Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust.” The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, is facing the same charges.

Hutchins was killed in October 2021 when a prop gun Baldwin was holding fired a live round of ammunition, hitting Hutchins in the chest and wounding director Joel Souza.

The prosecution is accusing the pair of failing to take the necessary firearm safety precautions to avoid such a tragic accident. According to Reed’s lawyer, the set armorer believed that the rounds were dummy ammunition or “blanks.” 

Baldwin maintains that he did not pull the trigger and was unaware that the gun contained live rounds. However, an FBI forensics report stated, “the weapon could not be fired during FBI testing of its normal functioning without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked.”

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said that both Baldwin and Reed were responsible for checking the safety of the prop. In addition to starring in “Rust,” Baldwin is also credited as its producer.

“Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they’re going to handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, that it is not going to fire a projectile and kill someone.”

She added, “nobody was checking those, or at least they weren’t checking them consistently.” 

“And then they somehow got loaded into a gun and handed off to Alec Baldwin. He didn’t check it. He didn’t do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins, and he pulled the trigger.”

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Baldwin and Reed are facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The charges vary in severity and carry separate terms of punishment. 

In a statement issued by the district attorney, Baldwin and Reed will be “charged in the alternative,” which means the jury will have to decide whether or not they are guilty and, if so, on which charge.

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. One of the charges carries additional punishment since a gun was involved, requiring a mandatory sentence of five years in prison. If convicted, they will only be sentenced to one count.

Carmack-Altwies told CNN that the charges would be formally filed by the end of the month. The two will not be arrested, but they will be summoned to appear in court. 

Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, said the charges were a “terrible miscarriage of justice.”

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds.”

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Formal federal prosecutor Duncan Levin told The Daily Beast that the charges are a reflection of Baldwin’s celebrity status.

I think this is an example of a prosecutor trying to make an example out of somebody who is famous and in the public eye. Clearly, a tragic incident happened, and somebody’s responsible, but I think that charging Alec Baldwin with a crime has a lot to do with the fact that he is Alec Baldwin.”

Los Angeles entertainment attorney Tre Lovell told The Daily Beast that movie sets are “different from the real world” and that Hollywood’s “rules and protocols” outline who is responsible for what at every stage of production. Actors are not in charge of inspecting the safety of props. The Screen Actors Guild would never approve of actors being tasked with inspecting their own equipment. 

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said that the prosecution would have to overcome significant hurdles to win the case. Some of these include not knowing how live rounds made it onto the set in the first place and reconciling differing viewpoints on how much responsibility actors and crew members carry.

“Remember, this is a criminal case. You need all 12 jurors to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So I’m not saying that there’s no chance here, but this is a really difficult case for the prosecution.”

Brian Panish, a lawyer representing the Hutchins family, expressed gratitude for the prosecution bringing forward these charges. 

“It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”

awards

Will Smith Opens Up About Chris Rock Oscars Slap on The Daily Show

Will Smith promoted his new historical drama “Emancipation” on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” on Monday evening. During the interview, the pair discussed Will Smith’s controversial night at the Oscars, where he slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage.

At the 94th Academy Awards last March, Smith charged the stage after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her baldness. Jada suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. Later that night, Smith won the award for best actor for his performance in “King Richard.”

In the days that followed, Smith released a series of public apologies on social media. Smith also resigned from the Academy. He is barred from attending its ceremony for the next 10 years.

“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know? I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all … It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”

Smith said he understood “the idea where they say hurt people hurt people,” and is working on learning how to forgive himself “for being human.” Noah offered his perspective on the situation, telling Smith he is “one of those rare breeds of people who’ve spent more time in the spotlight than out of it.” 

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Noah empathized with Smith, saying that he does not believe that moment should define Smith since none “of us in life deserves to be defined by our one f**k-up.”

“I love Chris. I’m friends with him. I love you, but this is f****d up … I know that as Black people, Black people get together and go, ‘What was Will doing? What the hell happened?’ A lot of Black people were like, ‘He should go to jail.’ Like, you need to relax yourself. Some people were overreacting, which made some people underreact.”

Smith shared a story from the fallout of the Oscars evening. At that point, he was already dealing with the repercussions of his actions.

“I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time. My nephew is nine. He is the sweetest little boy. We came home. He had stayed up late to see his uncle Will, and we are sitting in my kitchen, and he is on my lap and he is holding the Oscar and he is just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?'”

Smith also talked about his upcoming movie “Emancipation,” and what compelled him to participate in the film. The movie is based on actual events and features Smith playing a runaway slave the world knew as “Whipped Peter.” The name was given to him after photos of keloid scarring on his back were distributed worldwide in 1863, showing the true horror and brutality of slavery. The images helped fuel the abolitionist movement.

“First seeing that image was one of the things that really got me excited to explore this, because you see the image, but you don’t know who he is. You don’t know what the story is. American slavery was one of the most brutal aspects of human history … It is hard to understand the level of human cruelty. My daughter asked me, ‘Daddy, do we really need another slave movie?’ I said, ‘Baby, I promise you, I wouldn’t make a slave movie. This is a freedom movie.'”

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Director Antoine Fuqua explained to Vanity Fair why “Emancipation” will release eight months after Smith’s Oscars controversy since “the film to me is bigger than that moment.” The film release was delayed in May with concerns that Smith’s actions at the Oscars would affect its reception.

“400 years of slavery is bigger than one moment. My hope is that people will see it that way and watch the movie and be swept away with the great performance by Will and all the real hard work that the whole crew did.”

“Emancipation” will release in select theaters this Friday and premiere on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9. The film is the first major project in which Smith was involved since his notorious Oscars night.

In a television interview with Fox 5, Smith said that he understands if audiences are reluctant to watch him promote the new film but hopes that events from that ceremony will not hurt the movie. 

“I completely understand that, if someone is not ready. I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready.”

Smith says that he believes director Fuqua showcases “the greatest work in his entire career” and that people on the film’s production team “have done some of the best work of their entire careers.” Smith hopes his actions during the ceremony “don’t penalize my team.”

“So at this point, that’s what I’m working for. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping that the material, the power of the film, the timeliness of the story — I’m hoping that the good that can be done — will open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”

netflix

Stranger Things Final Season Pitch Made Netflix Executives Cry

Fans of Netflix hit series Stranger Things should brace themselves for an emotional final season. The creators of the show and several of its cast members hinted at what viewers should expect from a blockbuster Season 5 during a panel in Los Angeles Sunday night.

Creators Ross and Matt Duffer, executive producer Shawn Levy, and cast Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, Priah Ferguson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joseph Quinn and Eduardo Franco took part in the panel held at Tudum Theater.

The Duffer brothers revealed that the team had finished writing the season’s first episode, “The Crawl.” The crew also conducted a two-hour pitch meeting with Netflix execs to lay out the series ending, which left some executives in tears. According to Matt Duffer, just a few individuals know how the series will end.

“We did get our executives to cry, which I felt was a good sign that these executives were crying. The only other times I’ve seen them cry were like budget meetings.”

After submitting the first episode of the beloved series’ final season, Ross Duffer reflected on the show’s remarkable run.

“We turned in the first script a couple of weeks ago and we’re onto the second. It’s full steam ahead. I remember Season 1 we were just amazed that Netflix was letting us do this at all, but Season 2 was when we really, with the writers, we developed an overall plan and a back story for all of this and make sure that, with the Upside Down, everything about what it was.”

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Patton Oswalt, who served as the panel’s moderator, probed for information on Season 5’s emotional underpinnings. Fans hope the show will continue weaving 80s horror and pop culture references into its script.

“Five, the way we see it, is kind of a culmination of all the seasons, so it’s sort of got a little bit from each, whereas before each season was so distinctly … [Season] 3 is our big summer blockbuster season with big monsters, and [Season] 4 was the psychological horror. I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in sort of the tone of [Season] 1.”

Ross Duffer also shared that the last episodes of Season 5 will be comparable to Season 4 “scale-wise.” 

Season 4 of the series became the most expensive Netflix original created, costing around 30 million dollars to make each episode. In comparison, Breaking Bad Season 5 was 3.5 million dollars an episode, and Game of Thrones Season 8 was 15 million dollars an episode.

The series’ outstanding ratings among viewers and 12 Emmy wins suggest that the production costs were well worth it.

“Just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now, most of whom are still living. It’s important to wrap up those arcs because a lot of these characters have been growing since Season 1. So, it’s a balancing act between giving them time to complete their character arcs and also tying up these loose ends and doing our final reveals.”

Levy, the show’s executive producer, has praised the Duffer brothers’ dedication to the show over the years.

“As a witness and having been in that two-hour pitch room and having read this first script — I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll spoil anything but I will say the thing about these Duffer Brothers is that even though the show has gotten so famous and the characters have gotten so iconic and there’s so much about the ’80s and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people, it’s about these characters. Season 5 is already so clearly taking care of these stories of the characters because that’s always been the lifeblood of Stranger Things.”

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Matt Duffer revealed in August that the creators were considering not adding any new cast members during the final season to retain the focus on the current ensemble. Some viewers have criticized the show in the past for its reluctance to kill off main characters, which seems  idealistic in a world filled with ravenous monsters.

“Whenever we introduce a new character, we want to make sure that they’re going to be an integral part of the narrative. So that’s something with Eddie this season, where we go, ‘Well, we need a character here for this storyline to really work, and to give it the engine that is needed.’ But every time we do that, we’re nervous, because you go, ‘We’ve got a great cast of characters here, and actors, and any moment we’re spending with a new character, we’re taking time away from one of the other actors.’ So we’re just very, very careful about who we’re introducing.”

David Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper in the series, believes the final season will be a “home run.” Harbour said that playing Hopper has been “the role of a lifetime in many ways” and that he is going to pour his “heart and soul” into playing him for the last time.

“I know those Duffer brothers are very specific, and I know they want to get that last season. I mean if you look at Season 4, I have a feeling that Season 5 may not be as long, but it certainly will be packed to the brim with good stuff that you love. I mean, they really are getting better at giving you that home run that the audiences love. And I think that Season 5 will do that so much.”

lord of the rings

Original ‘LOTR’ Cast Stands in Solidarity With ‘Rings of Power’ Cast Amid Racist Backlash

The original cast of “The Lord of the Rings” movies are standing in solidarity with the diverse cast of Amazon’s new series “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” The cast of “The Rings of Power” have been on the receiving end of a slurry of hateful messages from racist “fans” of the LOTR franchise. These fans are unhappy with the casting decision and feel that it does not represent what they perceive to be LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision of its fantasy world, “Middle-earth.”

Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, and Dominic Monaghan publicly supported the new cast members on social media. They posted photos wearing hats and t-shirts featuring a row of human, goblin, and elf ears in various shades of skin tone. The four actors played the four hobbits in Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of the LOTR trilogy.

The actors captioned their posts with “you are all welcome here,” which quickly became a hashtag and reaffirmed their support. The merchandise designed by Don Marshall also features the phrase printed in “elvish.” 50% of the merchandise sales profits go to a nonprofit supporting POC.

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On a statement on Instagram, The Lord of the Rings on Prime account wrote a response to the controversy.

“We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it. JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. “Rings of Power” reflects that. Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white. Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in middle-earth and they are here to stay.”

This is not the first time a cast’s diversity or lack of diversity stirred controversy. A few weeks before “The Rings of Power” started streaming, a prequel to the TV fantasy series “Game of Thrones” called “House of Dragons” was released. Fans noticed that the prequel attempts to create a more diverse world than in “Game of Thrones.” A few years ago, Idris Alba received backlash when rumors of him playing James Bond circulated in the media.

Neil Gaiman, a fantasy and science-fiction author and screenwriter, has also come out in support, dismantling some of the arguments circulated by racist fans. On Twitter, one user posted, “browner of skin means tanned white similar to people who work in the sun,” to which Gaiman responded, “Tolkien didn’t say ‘The Harfoots spent longer in the sun than any of the other hobbits and were a lot more tanned.” He said that Tolkien described them as “browner of skin.”

The TV adaptation of “The Sandman,” released on Netflix recently, features a similarly diverse cast. In the show, one of the characters, “Death,” is white in the comics and is played by a Black actor named Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Female actors played other characters who were originally male in the comics. Gaiman wrote the original comic and was one of the developers of the show.

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Actor Whoopi Goldberg also came out in support and talked about the absurdity of a diversity rule placed on a fantasy world. Goldberg said, “they don’t exist in the real world.”

“There are no dragons. There are no hobbits. Are you telling me Black people can’t be fake people too? Is that what you’re telling me? I don’t know if there’s like a hobbit club, I don’t know if there are gonna be protests, but people! What is wrong with y’all?”

“The Rings of Power” takes place in Tolkien’s Middle-earth second age, before the timeline of the first book. It is streaming on Amazon Prime.

Major Hollywood Union Votes To Ratify Contracts For Better Streaming Payments

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), a major Hollywood union, have ratified their new film and TV contracts this week after six months of contentious negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). LA locals rejected the deal in a popular vote. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb in a statement today. 

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“The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

AMPTP released a statement as well, stating: “We congratulate IATSE President, Matt Loeb, the IATSE Bargaining Committee and Board for their leadership in achieving ratification of the new contracts. Throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improve quality of life for those they represent. These agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

The union uses an electoral college system for ratification votes such as this one. During this particular vote, 359 (56%) voted in favor compared to 282 (44%) who voted against it out of 641 total delegate votes; the votes were taken from 36 local unions nationwide that were eligible.

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The Basic Agreement was rejected in the popular vote with 49.6% voting yes to 50.4% voting no. Overall 50.3% voted yes to 49.7% voting no for both contracts. In the end, “72% of the 63,209 eligible members cast digital ballots this weekend,” according to IATSE.

According to media reports, “there were actually two separate contracts that were ratified: the Basic Agreement, which covers 13 Hollywood locals, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers 23 locals outside of Los Angeles.”

“For the LA centric Basic Agreement, the vote was 256 voting for the deal that IATSE made with the AMPTP last month, yes to 188 no. In regards to the non-LA based Area Standards Agreement the yes vote was 103 to 94 no votes for the more recent deal,” according to Deadline. 

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks. We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements,” Loeb stated. 

‘The Wire’ Creator, David Simon, Pulls Upcoming HBO Series From Texas Following Abortion Ban

David Simon, mainly known for being the creator of popular series “The Wire,” announced that he will not be filming his newest upcoming series for HBO in Texas as originally planned because of the state’s abortion ban that passed earlier this month. 

The specific project that was set to film in Texas has not been announced, however, Simon claimed the restrictive abortion law passed in the state motivated him to film in other locations. The ban currently in place means abortions can’t be performed after six weeks, and allows citizens to sue doctors and other citizens who attempt to access safe abortion procedures after the six week point in their pregnancy. 

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“[As] an employer, this is beyond politics. I’m turning in scripts next month on an HBO non-fiction miniseries based on events in Texas, but I can’t and won’t ask female cast/crew to forgo civil liberties to film there. What else looks like Dallas/Ft. Worth?”

Simon took to Twitter to make his announcement, which was met with mixed reactions based on the individuals in Texas who don’t support the law but don’t have the means or desire to leave. Critics argue that the refusal to film in the state hurts working professionals in Texas and also diverts critical resources. 

The Dallas Film & Creative Industries Office in response to Simon’s announcement tweeted: “Laws of a state are not reflective of its entire population. Not bringing a production to Dallas (a big ‘D’) only serves to further disenfranchise those that live here. We need talent/crew/creatives to stay & vote, not get driven out by inability to make a living.”

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Simon then responded to the tweet, defending his decision and claiming that his intentions were being completely misunderstood by critics. 

“You misunderstand completely. My response is NOT rooted in any debate about political efficacy or the utility of any boycott. My singular responsibility is to securing and maintaining the civil liberties of all those we employ during the course of a production.”

After Texas officially passed the abortion ban, several other film industry professionals called for a “boycott” of using the state for any sort of Hollywood production. Oscar winner Patricia Arquette called for a boycott of the Lone Star state while Salesforce CEO, Mark Benioff, offered his Texas employees the option of relocating with support of the company in response to the ban.

The overall goal of these “boycotts” when state’s pass laws that attack civil liberties is to show them that human rights are more important than the revenue that can be brought in by being the setting of a Hollywood production.

Gold Award Trophy

NBC Won’t Air 2022 Golden Globes As Actors Return Their Awards 

Tom Cruise has joined a list of influential Hollywood figures speaking out against the Golden Globes, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association more specifically. Cruise returned three of his Golden Globes in protest after criticisms revealed all the issues the HFPA were causing in the industry. 

The HFPA is a small group of journalists who vote on the Golden Globes every year, and after a major expose highlighted the failings of the voting process for the awards, many industry leaders began speaking out, and NBC even went so far as to announce they won’t be airing the 2022 ceremony. 

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The Los Angeles Times revealed multiple allegations made against the HFPA, claiming the association is corrupt, and lacks diversity. NBC recently released a statement about their decision to not air the award show next year: 

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

In response, the HFTPA released a detailed timeline of their proposed changes: “Regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes, implementing transformational changes as quickly – and as thoughtfully – as possible remains the top priority for our organization. We invite our partners in the industry to the table to work with us on the systemic reform that is long overdue, both in our organization as well as within the industry at large.”

NBC has been airing the Golden Globes since 1996, and pays about $60 million for the rights annually. The most recent ceremony had a 60% drop in viewership, likely due to the controversy that most of the major award shows are enduring. 

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Hollywood studios, publicists, and performers have all begun to distance themselves from the HFPA. For example, Netflix, WarnerMedia, and Scarlett Johannsson have all called on the industry to take action against the corrupt attitudes that these institutions have. 

“Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA,” Johansson said.

Around 100 PR firms representing the film industry said they would “continue to refrain from any HFPA-sanctioned events, including press conferences, unless and until these issues are illuminated in detail with a firm commitment to a timeline”.

“Our community of vibrant creatives across all racial, ethnic, and gender backgrounds deserve better.”

The Los Angeles Times initially ran two investigations into the HFPA which detailed multiple “ethical lapses” in the voting process, and since the article was published the HFPA’s former president, Phillip Berk, was expelled for sharing an article with other members that referred to Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate group.”