HFPA faces new scrutiny amid report of high membership payments, lack of black members

HFPA faces new scrutiny amid report of high membership payments, lack of black members

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has steadily increased fees for various tasks related to the Golden Globe Awards. This emerges from a Los Angeles Times report that may raise tax issues for the nonprofit journalist organization and its members.

The small, tight-knit HFPA has long been vetted for many of its practices, especially as NBC’s signature Golden Globes Awards have grown in terms of influence, audience numbers, and royalties. Much of that focus has been on the food and drink of HFPA members and how much expensive travel to film and television sets, loot, and other perks impact the Globes nomination and voting process.

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In a new story published Sunday by the Los Angeles Times, the organization’s growing practice of paying many of its 87 members high fees for various duties, including serving on committees and moderation boards, both inside and outside the HFPA Eyebrows raised.

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According to the newspaper, the HFPA has budgeted $ 2.15 million in its current fiscal year (ending June 2021) to pay members for a variety of reasons. The newspaper found that two dozen members received $ 3,465 per month for watching foreign films in January, while members of a travel committee received $ 2,310 per month, while members of the archive committee received $ 2,200 per month for each member of the film festival Committees received $ 1,100 per month. A history committee pays members $ 1,000 per month.

Press conference moderators earn $ 1,200 per month, while articles for the HFPA website earn members additional cash (totaling $ 585,000 for fiscal year ended June 2020).

The HFPA is also making good payments to its board of directors, the Times writes, noting that five civil servants were paid between $ 63,433 and $ 135,957 in the tax year ended June 30, 2019. Board members were paid between $ 22,915 and $ 78,079 over the same period.

Tax experts quoted by the newspaper said the payments were unusual, especially for a tax-exempt organization. Insiders told the Times that the amount of money paid to members rose dramatically about a decade ago when the journalism market began its rapid economic downturn.

The HFPA has also benefited greatly from the success of the Globes’ ratings, which has become one of the most-watched non-sports television shows of the year, and now earns $ 27.4 million from NBC, an increase of more than 3.6 million US dollars Internal documents show that the HFPA had US $ 50 million in cash at the end of October, according to the Times. The royalties have also allowed the HFPA to increase the amount of its donations to charity, with grants totaling more than $ 5 million for a number of organizations in 2020.

The HFPA has long been criticized for being influenced by the huge impact of the studio award campaigns on its nominations. The Times noted that HFPA members were invited to a set visit for the foamy Netflix comedy “Emily in Paris” on a luxury trip to Paris that surprised forecasters when it landed a Globe nomination for best comedy series.

diversity asked the HFPA for a comment. A source close to the organization suggested that members are only compensated for providing services to the HFPA that are beyond their capabilities as members and instead act as employees. The source said the HFPA’s compensation decisions were “based on an assessment of compensation practices by similar nonprofits and the market prices for such services,” and were reviewed by a professional not-for-profit advisor and an outside attorney.

The source also noted that the HFPA does not have high-paid non-member executives and reports compensation paid through the IRS to key employees and officers, describing that compensation as “relatively modest.”

“We are aware of the unprecedented economic challenges our employees are facing due to the impact of the pandemic,” an HFPA representative told the LA Times. “The HFPA is committed to maintaining the continuity of our skilled and experienced employees to ensure our future success and will continue to reward them for the range of services they provide to the company.”

A related story from the LA Times highlighted the lack of black membership in the HFPA. The Times reported that the 87-member group has limited membership for many years, in part due to concerns about competition. The HFPA has several colored members, but no black members. An HFPA spokesman said the organization was “determined to address the lack of black representation”.

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