Phil Berk, who was the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and a member of the problematic organization that has somehow remained relevant for decades, has been exiled from the organization after he sent a racist email to his fellow HFPA’ers. He also criticized Black Live Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, for purchasing a home in Topanga Canyon. A statement from the HFPA said that Berk is no longer a member and it is effective immediately.
How about we just expel the HFPA altogether?
According to The Los Angeles Times, the 88-year-old sent an email that called Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement” and described Cullors as “the self-proclaimed “trained Marxist.” In the chain, HFPA members called his email “racist”, “viel” and a “thundering disgrace”.
Again, all on brand for the HFPA.
HFPA sent a statement to help do some damage control saying, “Since its inception, the HFPA has dedicated itself to bridging cultural connections and creating further understanding of different backgrounds through film and TV. The views expressed in the article circulated by Mr. Berk are those of the author of the article and do not — in any way shape or form – reflect the views and values of the HFPA. The HFPA condemns all forms of racism, discrimination and hate speech and finds such language and content unacceptable.”
In addition, NBC, which broadcasts the Golden Globe Awards, and MRC, which owns Dick Clark Productions, which produces the show, chimed in:
“NBC strongly condemns Phil Berk’s actions and is calling for his immediate expulsion,” said NBC in a statement. “While we continue to await the details of HFPA’s upcoming plan for reform, swift action on this front is an essential element for NBC to move forward with the HFPA and the Golden Globes.”
MRC also made sure that everyone knew they weren’t racist: “We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, artists, journalists and executives who have been hurt or overlooked by the HFPA. We are disgusted by the racist rhetoric disseminated by a member yesterday. We were encouraged by the very strong statements the HFPA previously made around improving their organization around issues of racial reform and equity. The actions and statements of this member are inconsistent with the direction that the HFPA has publicly said it has embarked upon.”
The MRC statement continued, “We are calling upon the HFPA to take quick and decisive action against this member. Earlier this year we laid out our expectations to the organization and have been working to influence and support the progress that so many of us want to see. While we remain hopeful that progress is being made and a clear actionable roadmap is unveiled, we are deeply disappointed by this latest development. We want to reiterate publicly that there must be meaningful change defined in the May 6th plan.”