Time's Up For the Golden Globes. Does It Matter?
How "transformative" a change are we talking here?
Look, I don’t really care about the Golden Globes. I’ve never watched it. I thought Ricky Gervais’ Mel Gibson joke was funny, but mainly because I despise Mel Gibson (I do not condone public humiliation of alcoholics, generally). But I’m intrigued to see the speed at which this latest Victim of Cancel Culture has been trashed by everyone and likely hurt in the wallet.
Even Tom Cruise, who doesn’t believe in politics because he knows that actually, the thetans control everything, has given back his three Golden Globes because, after many many years and a lot of evidence, everyone has agreed this week that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which runs the Globes, sucks.
But what I think is cool about this is that it reminds us that a number of different organisations and individuals working together can create momentum toward genuine change (and that many people do give an increasingly-sized shit about some sort of change).
Sure, some of them are our ginormous neoliberal capitalistic overlords like Netflix and Scarlett Johannson. And some are lovely cuddly activist groups like Time’s Up, who are in no way problematic in a way we will discover later down the line, at which point you will receive an email from me titled Time’s Up For Time’s Up, accompanied by one of the following gifs:
What led to this week’s boycott and cancellation - that isn’t “Cancel” as in Twitter arguments/right-wing hacks, but as in NBC has literally cancelled the 2022 awards ceremony - is a combination of things. In this order:
The HFPA is a weird organisation, founded in the 1940s, made up of foreign journalists, some of whom aren’t journalists, renowned for being nepotistic/‘pay-to-play’ if you want to get a Golden Globe nomination or become a voting member
Everyone grumbles about it, but largely puts up with it for three-quarters of a century
On Feb 21, 2021, shortly before the 78th Golden Globes Award Ceremony, the LA Times releases an exposé about the membership of the HFPA, in which it’s revealed that not one of the 87 members is Black and their membership process is strangely insular and obscure
On March 7th, the HFPA releases a statement saying they are “committed to transformational change” and outlining initial steps to be taken over the next two months
Immediately afterward, Time’s Up releases a statement saying “The right words are not enough”
Two months later, which is this week, Time’s Up, Warner Media, more than 100 PR firms and numerous other industry folk slam the HFPA’s lack of strategy, and vocalise various beliefs along the lines of “this sounds like bullshit, mate”
Netflix, Warner and others formally cut ties with the organisation until “meaningful changes are made”; NBC cancels the 2022 ceremony; Scarlett Johansson compares the HFPA’s press conferences to “sexual harassment”; Tom Cruise returns his three globes'; Ava Duvernay speaks out consistently and candidly about the racism/homophobic/misogynistic culture of the HFPA…Warner Media, now the third studio to turn away from , drops inside details about how it’s harder to secure HFPA press conferences for Black artists and how artists are asked racially insensitive, sexist, homophobic questions. Strong statement.
So, yeah. Momentum! The momentum is going great! If we could just get, oh I don’t know a few celebs like….Leonardo DiCaprio, or….Al Gore involved in stoking some momentum for addressing climate change?
What I’m clumsily and flippantly trying to say is that the momentum genuinely is great, but maybe we should be rethinking having award shows, weird “press associations” that contain non-journalists, and organisations that seemingly foster inequity at every level, at all. It seems to me that waiting for an organisation that makes very little difference in the world, that was super happy to maintain its inequitable, unethical practices for over seventy-five years, to suddenly self-regulate is at best a massive waste of everyone’s time, and at worst actively encouraging other people and organisations to see that they can absolutely get away with this shit if they can be seen to be changing the guard quickly enough and in the right way.
Boycott them entirely. Shut them down.
The work of critics, activists, and public support of celebrities with gestures and statements, is excellent in its own way. When it comes to pursuing change, we need it all. We can probably do better than a single “miss-a-go” for an awards show that nominated Burlesque and The Tourist for Best Movie, though.