Entertainment

Scarlett Johansson joins Marvel co-star Mark Ruffalo in calling out HFPA


190715 Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson Image Credit: AP

Scarlett Johansson is the latest celebrity powerhouse to call out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for not putting substantial reforms in place and has urged the industry to step back from the organisation until this happens.

Johansson’s statement comes even as her Marvel co-star Mark Ruffalo called out the organization, along with Netflix, Amazon Studios and Time’s Up that have individually taken objection with HFPA’s latest reform plan that calls for a greater diversity push and calling into question member practices.

In a statement to Variety, Johansson revealed one of the reasons she had distanced herself from HFPA press events was due to the sexist questions and remarks that came her way.

“As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows. In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment,” Johansson said in the statement.

“It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences. The HFPA is an organisation that was legitimised by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition and the industry followed suit. Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organisation, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole.”

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Mark Ruffalo Image Credit: GN Archives

Ruffalo also posted a statement on Twitter, using the hashtag #ChangeisGolden is a reference to the Golden Globe Awards that comes under the HFPA umbrella.

“It’s discouraging to see the HFPA, which has gained prominence and profited handsomely from their involvement with filmmakers and actors, resist the change that is being asked of them from many of the groups that have been most disenfranchised by their culture of secrecy and exclusion,” Ruffalo said. “Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past. Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award.”

He continued: “Our industry is embracing the opportunity for greater equality in this beautiful moment. It is not perfect and long overdo but it is clear what must happen and how. The Justice Movement is offering all of us, the HFPA, and every other entertainment entity, a good way forward. We should all follow suit. It is our audiences and our highest sense of decency that we are ultimately serving with these changes. They are both deserving.”

Amazon Studios has also said that it is awaiting significant change before resuming work with the HFPA.

“We have not been working with the HFPA since these issues were first raised, and like the rest of the industry, we are awaiting a sincere and significant resolution before moving forward,” an Amazon Studios spokesperson said in a statement to Variety.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos sent a letter to the HFPA’s leadership committee on Friday, which read: “We don’t believe these proposed new policies — particularly around the size and speed of membership growth — will tackle the HFPA’s systemic diversity and inclusion challenges, or the lack of clear standards for how your members should operate. So we’re stopping any activities with your organization until more meaningful changes are made. Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA’s collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor.”

A Los Angeles Times investigation in February revealed that the HFPA didn’t have a single Black member in more than two decades. The article also detailed that the organisation had paid large sums to members for serving on committees and accepted lavish junket trips.




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