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Another day, another corruption scandal for the Golden Globes

Guy Adams

golden globe 195x300 Another day, another corruption scandal for the Golden Globes

I am intrigued, though not entirely surprised, to read the allegations of impropriety levelled against the organisers of the Golden Globes today, by their former PR man, Michael Russell.

The awards event, which takes place on Sunday, is organised by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), an opaque group of roughly 70 occasional journalists, some of whom are not even foreign, who have over the years acquired a formidable reputation for corruption.

Russell, who worked with the HFPA for 17 years, claimed today that he was sacked for attempting to clean up dishonest practices within the organisation. His lawsuit alleges that its members routinely take bribes: accepting free holidays, gifts, and other items of hospitality from film studios, in return for giving gongs (like the one above) to their movies.

That claim certainly has the ring of truth. Already this year, for example, HFPA members have dodgily nominated Burlesque for one of their Best Picture awards. As I reported before Christmas, the movie, a commercial and critical flop, appeared on the Golden Globes shortlist just a few days after HFPA members enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, to see its star, Cher, live in concert.

Elsewhere in his court filing, Russell claims the HFPA sells media credentials to the Golden Globes for profit, letting journalists from little-known publications access to its red carpet in return for a fee. This in turn means that many legitimate news organisations are unable to cover the event live, without first agreeing to pay what amounts to a financial bung.

This claim also has the ring of truth. The Independent does not pay fees to access to show-business events (and neither should any respectable title). And our applications for credentials to cover the Globes have always been unceremoniously turned down.

The HFPA has yet to respond to Russell’s comments. No doubt they hope the row will simply go away. In the meantime, people who care about integrity should refuse to watch Sunday’s broadcast, and treat its outcome with a hefty pinch of salt.

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