On Sunday, WarnerMedia, home to Warner Bros. and HBO, sent a letter to the president of the press association expressing disappointment at the limited nature of the reforms the H.F.P.A. had pledged to undertake. As a result, WarnerMedia executives said they would “continue to refrain from direct engagement with the H.F.P.A., including sanctioned press conferences and invitations to cover other industry events with talent,” until changes are implemented. The New York Times obtained a copy of the WarnerMedia letter on Monday.
Late last week, the co-chief executive of Netflix sent his own missive to members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Leadership Committee criticizing the size and scope of reforms the group had proposed and saying his company would be “stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made.”
Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, also released a statement Monday, saying, “We have not been working with the H.F.P.A. since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward.”
A wide-ranging Los Angeles Times article, published on Feb. 21, found, among other things, that the group had no Black members, had more than $50 million in cash on hand at the end of October, and paid large sums to members for serving on committees. A New York Times article on Feb. 23 explored the finances of the group, a tax-exempt nonprofit, and reported that it had paid more than $3 million in salaries and other compensation to its members and staff, and that a tax filing showed it had paid $1.3 million in travel costs one year.
During the Golden Globes telecast on Feb. 28, leaders of the group vowed to diversify its membership. On Thursday, members voted to institute a set of reforms that the group’s president, Ali Sar, said “reaffirms our commitment to change.” Officials said they were already compiling a list of diversity consultants and planned to increase membership more than 50 percent in the next 18 months. They also said they planned to hire a search firm to seek potential candidates to run the group, and had retained a law firm to help implement the reforms.
But those steps were not enough to mollify some studios like WarnerMedia, which argued, for instance, that “lasting and meaningful change to your membership goals” could be achieved more quickly than the 18-month timeline set out by the association.