The scandal-hit group behind Hollywood’s Golden Globes has approved a bid to spin off the lucrative film and television awards show into a new, for-profit entity controlled by US billionaire Todd Boehly, it said Thursday.
Composed of around 100 entertainment writers with links to foreign publications, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been plagued by allegations of corruption, racism and amateurism.
These led to a Hollywood boycott that saw its flagship, high-profile awards show taken off the air by NBC this year.
Boehly, who has major stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and Chelsea soccer team, was already the HFPA’s interim CEO before the members on Thursday voted to approve his proposal for a new private company controlling the Golden Globes.
“This is a historic moment for the HFPA and the Golden Globes,” said HFPA president Helen Hoehne in a statement.
“We have taken a decisive step forward to transform ourselves and adapt to this increasingly competitive economic landscape for both award shows and the journalism marketplace.”
The HFPA itself will remain a non-profit entity, focused on charitable efforts largely funded by the Golden Globes.
Meanwhile, Boehly’s Eldridge Industries will create a new company “empowered to oversee the professionalization and modernization of the Golden Globe Awards.”
New Golden Globes voters from beyond the HFPA will be added “to increase the size and diversity of the available voters for the annual awards,” said the statement.
The awards have traditionally been second only to the Oscars in Hollywood, at least in terms of prominence and publicity.
Thursday’s vote follows months of fierce debate and internal reviews of Boehly’s offer and alternative proposals.
But it is unlikely to end the controversy surrounding the Globes.
NBC has not yet confirmed it will broadcast the Globes next year despite the group’s previous attempts at reforms, and several powerful Hollywood publicists continue to hold back their star clients from HFPA events.
Critics have alleged that Boehly’s takeover raises new legal and ethical issues, noting that it could further reduce transparency, and create a “two-tier” system between HFPA members and outside voters, who are expected to predominantly be from minority backgrounds.
Eldridge Industries already owns MRC, which produces the Golden Globes ceremony, and has a stake in the Beverly Hilton hotel, where the awards are held.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the move still requires a final sign-off from California’s attorney general.
The HFPA did not respond to AFP’s request for further comment.