Tom Ford's In Hot Water For The Swag He Sent To Hollywood Foreign Press Members

Photo: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock
Free swag is perhaps one of the things that us normal people envy the most about famous people. Whether they're attending a cool party or awards show (like the Golden Globes!) or just sitting at home, celebrities get showered with gratis goodies all the time, which is basically a dream life. Swag bags can range from a couple of cool things to the outrageous 2016 Oscars gift bag, valued at more than $232,000 (!). But not all swag bags are a free for all, as Tom Ford is learning.

Ford, whose second feature film Nocturnal Animals received three nominations for the 2017 Golden Globes, is under fire for a promotional gift he sent to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Per standard industry practice, film companies often send free gifts to awards voters to promote their movies. So Ford, who is first known for being a luxury fashion designer, sent Globes voters two bottles of his signature fragrance (one for men, one for women).

While nothing seems inherently outrageous about sending two bottles of fragrance as a gift, Ford is in hot water over the value of the perfumes, which retail at luxury stores like Neiman Marcus for hundreds of dollars.

According to the report, "the HFPA now has a rule in place that forbids its members from accepting gifts with a market value of more than $95." After voters received the cologne bottles, HFPA president Lorenzo Soria emailed them, reportedly telling them that they could keep one bottle and had to return the other to the HFPA. The HFPA will then return it to Focus Features, who produced Nocturnal Animals.

As for how they agreed to let voters keep one of the bottles? "The organization decided on the keep one/return one policy when it found that the price for which the colognes were being sold on Amazon.com was about $90 per bottle," even though they retail for substantially more than that in stores.

Soria confirmed the report, telling THR, "The policy is a little hard to police because you have both retail and discount prices, but we keep an eye on it as much as possible and that was the only clear violation we had this season."

Of the idea that sending gifts will help sway the voters' opinions, Soria added, "I can also guarantee that nobody knows who sent what. It's a wasted effort and doesn't sway our opinions."

Other gifts that were apparently allowed but not so well received? Focus Features sent HFPA voters "a small wedding cake topped by an interracial couple to remind them of its film Loving." An HFPA voter told THR of the confection, "I refused that. I can’t come home from a long day at the Four Seasons [attending press junkets and screenings] to find decaying food on my doorstep."

We can't be alone when we say we'd gladly take a bottle of cologne and a small wedding cake off voters' hands in a heartbeat.
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