Two members of the Congressional Black Caucus are demanding an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service into the tax exempt status and “corruption” in the group behind the Golden Globe Awards — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Joyce Beatty (D – Ohio) and fellow CBC leader Rep. Brenda L. Lawrence (D – Michigan, who is Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations) wrote to the IRS chairman in a letter obtained by Urban Hollywood 411.
“For more than a year, entertainment and national media outlets have detailed the seemingly corrupt and unacceptable deal making patterns of HFPA raising questions whether the organization solely responsible for awarding the once coveted Golden Globe Award is meeting its IRS section 501(C)(3) demands,” said the letter which was dated March 7.
“We believe at minimum, HFPA’s current leadership has colluded to benefit themselves, either directly or indirectly and therefore violated the IRS statute,” it continued.
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The letter also called out the HFPA for a “failure to embrace robust diversity.” The document ended with, “It is our hope you will see the urgency of our request and instruct IRS examiners and legal teams to expose the corruption many believe exist within the HFPA.”
The two CBC members have requested an answer within 30 days according to the letter. This request for an investigation is another public blow to the already embattled HFPA.
Earlier this year, Hollywood boycotted the Golden Globes. The HFPA’s longtime broadcasting partner NBC did not air this year’s awards ceremony and there were no celebrities in the audience or as presenters.
A series of explosive reports in February 2021 by the Los Angeles Times revealed details on the group’s membership ranks and questionable ethics, as previously reported. The HFPA also faced fallout for not having any Black members in its group of 87 international journalists. Others told the Times, the HFPA divided nearly $2 million among its members last year for serving on various committees, potentially violating tax laws for nonprofits.
A few weeks after the LA Times report came out, over 100 Hollywood PR firms signed a letter advising their clients not to work with the organization, Variety reported.
On Tuesday the HFPA released a statement to the media in response to the CBC’s call for an IRS investigation.
“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is extremely disappointed to have read about the concerns from Representatives Beatty and Lawrence in the media,” the group said in a statement. “Though the Association still hasn’t received any letter or other forms of communication, it has reached out to their offices to discuss their concerns, provide answers to their questions, and make them aware of the significant changes and reforms the Association has already undertaken.”
Anita Bennett contributed to this report.
[Read the full letter below]