Ex-HFPA president under fire for calling Black Lives Matter a ‘hate movement’

Jared Alexander
·4 min read

The email contains excerpts from an article entitled “BLM Goes Hollywood”

Weeks after The Hollywood Foreign Press came under fire for its lack of diversity, an ex-HFPA president is now under fire for calling Black Lives Matter a “hate movement” in an email.

Per the Los Angeles Times, former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Phil Berk sent out an email on Sunday including a post that refers to Black Lives Matter as a hate group, and criticized Patrisse Cullors, a Black Lives Matter co-founder.

Golden Globes HFPA thegrio.com
A general view of the atmosphere at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards Preview Day at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 03, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Read More: HFPA snubbed press conferences of Black-led projects Like ‘Bridgerton,’ insiders say

The post is reportedly from an article entitled BLM Goes Hollywood on FrontPage Mag. on April 12. Reportedly covering how Cullors recently bought a $1.4-million home, the article states that in 2020, “race rioters burned buildings and terrorized communities.” It also details, “The house is down the road from one of the homes involved in the Manson murders which seems only appropriate since Manson wanted to start a race war. And Black Lives Matter is carrying on Manson’s work.”

It continues to allege a strong connection between Hollywood and the Black Lives Matter movement. It reads, “The founders of BLM have gone to work acting, writing, consulting, and promoting for Hollywood because their racist hate movement was always an entertainment industry production.”

Golden Globes HFPA thegrio.com
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has formally committed to adding 13 Black members after a bombshell report last month from The Los Angeles Times revealed that there were none among its fold. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Since the backlash from the email, the HFPA has already issued a public apology for the racist email from Berk. The statement reads, “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.”

The email reportedly led to strong reactions from current members of the HFPA. Rui Coimbra, a current member, replied, “As a former HFPA President and still a strong and influential voice in the group, this is not the [type] of information you should be disseminating to HFPA members…Please remove me from any racist email you wish to send to the membership. Dr. Harper has been notified, here, that you are equating the Black Lives Matter moment to the Charles Manson murderous gang.”

Berk is certainly a controversial figure in the HFPA’s history. Hollywood leading man Brendan Fraser alleged that he was assaulted by Berk at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2003, leading to the unraveling of his career while at its peak. Fraser told GQ Magazine, “His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.”

This of course comes weeks after the HFPA came under fire after their response to their glaring diversity issues. As theGrio previously reported, Tina Tchen, President and CEO of Time’s Up, wrote an official letter calling out their lackluster response to weeks of controversy.

It read, “The HFPA’s statements tonight and over the last several days indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the depth of the problems at hand. Your stated version of change is cosmetic – find Black people. That is not a solution.”

All eyes are on the HFPA as we near May 5, their reportedly self-imposed deadline “to announce specific structural changes.”

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