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Tina Tchen TIME’S UP Now President & CEO, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss NBC dropping the 2022 Golden Globes following diversity controversy.
KRISTIN MYERS: It is Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, so let's chat about efforts to make the Golden Globes more diverse, as NBC has decided for the first time since 1996 not to air the Golden Globes amid criticism that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that puts on the Globes isn't diverse enough. We're joined now by Tina Tchen, President and CEO of Time's Up Now.
Tina, always great when you're here with us. So I want to start on that Golden Globes controversy. You know, these organizations, the HFPA, has made statements about how they want to make changes. The Golden Globes is not alone in some of the criticisms that have been levied against it-- some, including by your organization. Do you think these organizations are more interested in paying lip service, or do you think that they actually are interested in making changes, at least when it comes to initiatives around diversity and inclusion?
TINA TCHEN: Well, with respect to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is this small group of really-- it's only 86 folks who decide the Golden Globes. And that's the size that they've been for several decades. When it comes to them, we called them out-- actually, "LA Times" did a story in the lead-up to this year's Golden Globes that showed that there was-- they have no Black members right now. They haven't had a Black member for over 20 years.
After the awards show was aired over two months ago, they set for themselves a May 6 deadline to come up with reforms. We saw those reforms last week, and they were sorely lacking, Kristin. And it wasn't just about adding more Black people to the organization, it was how they make their decisions. It's how they actually apply ethics rules to themselves, how they have accountability and transparency.
And since it is, as you said, Asian-American History Month-- one of the ways they manifested sort of racism in their decision-making, not just in their membership, happened this year. You know, one of the biggest films of the year is "Minari," which is a story about an Asian-American family in middle America. And yet, the Golden Globes put it into their foreign language category because, apparently, they have a rule that if a movie is 50% in another language, it goes into the foreign language category.
So "Minari" won in that category. However, they have not in the past consistently applied that rule. "Inglourious Basterds" was not put into the foreign language category. It tends to actually get applied to Asian-American filmmakers. It was applied last year to the "Farewell" film with Awkwafina. And that just perpetuates the racism of the story that Asian-Americans are somehow other.
And we're seeing that play out right now in this horrific increase in Asian-American hate and violence. And guess what? The Golden Globes was part of that.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So, Tina, what would you want to see from the Hollywood Foreign Press as they make changes. You say that they came out with some proposals on May 6. What was wrong with those? Did they not go far enough? What would you like to see?
TINA TCHEN: Well, Time's Up, we actually-- a week after the Golden Globes award ceremony, we gave them a list of suggestions and recommendations to demonstrate all of the areas, not just membership, that they needed to take a look at. They don't have an ethics code, and there's been a lot that's come out, like Scarlett Johansson statement, about the kinds of unethical, and sexist, and racist behavior that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has engaged in during their press conferences.
They don't, as I said, apply their rules even-handedly or with transparency. And importantly, they needed to make these changes quickly, because Hollywood needed to know whether there was going to be real change before the next award process started. And so their timetable that they laid out last week was too slow, it had only a 50% increase in membership, which means the current membership was going to stay in charge through at least the next two award cycles.
They never even addressed some of the flaws in their nominations process. It has been widely reported, for example, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association wouldn't show up for press conferences and screenings by Black-created projects-- things like "Bridgerton," like "Queen and Slim." They wouldn't even commit to making sure their members would actually watch the films that they're voting on.
KRISTIN MYERS: Now, Tina, Hollywood is ultimately a business. And at least when it comes to these issues, Hollywood isn't at all alone. So broadening it out more to general workplace to corporate America, what are some of the moves that we need to be seeing from CEOs from corporate America as a whole, from businesses as a whole to make sure that not just Asian-Americans, but also Black Americans, and Hispanic Americans-- that everyone is moving up the ladder in a far more equitable fashion?
TINA TCHEN: No, absolutely. Look, it requires, as we tried to point out to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a multi-sectoral effort. It isn't just one thing, like trying to recruit more folks. Because if you recruit more folks in the door but you don't support them during the course of their careers, you're not looking at how you're doing their promotions and evaluations. If you're not looking at flexibility in the workplace to make sure that women actually can fully participate in the workplace while they're managing the demands at home, if you're not doing all of those things together-- and they're going to lose people up the pipeline, and you're not going to have that truly inclusive workforce that you want.
And, look, this has outsized impacts beyond just who's sitting in the seats. As we pointed out with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, it impacts the decisions that you make substantively. For folks who are in businesses, it impacts whether you're making decisions that reflect your full consumer base because you're not fully reflected on who your consumers are. And, look, in the case of things like leading industries and leading culture-makers like the entertainment industry and the Golden Globes, this affects our broader culture, right?
As a country, as we're moving to address racial injustice, the racial reckoning we've all been going under the last year, what signals we're sending from places like Hollywood with what films we're celebrating, what creators are getting greenlit to actually make movies? In industries, you know, who are the leaders? Who are the CEOs we have?
You know, we're still in a world where 93% of the CEOs in this country, the Fortune 500, are men. You know, what are we doing to actually really truly represent the diversity of our country? We need leadership from the top in every industry to embrace that.
KRISTIN MYERS: Absolutely. And of course, as you were speaking, we had some pretty disappointing and disheartening statistics when it comes to the labor force in the United States. This is just the first of many, many conversations that need to be had on this topic. Tina Tchen, Time's Up President and CEO, thanks so much for joining us.