Earlier this week, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the annual Golden Globes, came under fire for a disappointing — but unfortunately not shocking — revelation: the body of journalists doesn’t have a single Black member. It hasn't since 2002. As the 2021 Golden Globes approached, celebrities started criticizing the HFPA’s racist behaviour with the hashtag #TimesUpGlobes.
On Sunday night, the backlash came to the 2021 Globes stage through its hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
The comedy duo — who hosted the Globes three consecutive times between 2013 and 2015 — opened the show by explaining what exactly the HFPA is. “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 international, no-Black journalists,” Fey began. “We say ‘around 90’ because a couple of them might be ghosts and it’s rumoured that the German member is just a sausage that somebody drew a little face on.”
Considering the investigation into the HFPA done by The L.A. Times, it’s barely even a joke that the HFPA may be more interested in supernatural and encased meat product representation than racial inclusion. Fey hammered home this likelihood, joking that the HFPA responded well to animated film Soul — which is about the soul of a Black man getting knocked into the body of a cat — because the HFPA does “have five cat members.”
Finally, Poehler really broke down the issues at play during the Globes, saying towards the end of the monologue, “A lot of flashy garbage got nominated, but that happens. That’s like [the HFPA’s] thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Fey then added, “The point is, even with stupid things, inclusivity is important and there are no Black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. I realize, HFPA, maybe you guys didn’t get the memo because your workplace is the back booth of a French McDonalds. But you gotta change that. So, here’s to changing it.”
While Poehler agreed she’s “looking forward to that change,” neither she, nor Fey, shared any ideas on how to improve the injustice on display during the 2021 Globes. Requests for “change” are helpful — but Fey and Poehler are the most powerful people at the Globes tonight. They’re the faces of the show and anything they say will be seen by millions of people. They could have demanded the smallest modicum of real, actionable change, and the viewers, decision makers, and HFPA members watching would have been forced to listen.
Fey and Poehler’s stance would have been particularly powerful if they turned the criticism on themselves. The pair could have pointed out that the HFPA tapped Sandra Oh to co-host the Globes two years ago in 2019, allowing her to make history as the first-ever Asian person to host the award show. Then, the HFPA promptly ran back to the familiarity of white hosts, asking former emcee Ricky Gervais to lead the 2020 show and then turned to Fey and Poehler for 2021. Oh wasn't even nominated this year for her work on Killing Eve — but her white co-star Jodie Comer was.
Now if Fey and Poehler had mentioned those facts, we might just get the “change” they're supposedly looking to see.