Golden Globes group ousts senior member over BLM email

File photo of Philip Berk speaking at a podium
File photo of Philip Berk speaking at a podium (AP)
5:36am, Wed 21 Apr 2021
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A former president of the organisation that hosts the Golden Globes has been dropped from the group’s board after sending an email that called Black Lives Matter a “hate movement”.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association board said in an email on Tuesday that Phil Berk was no longer a member of the organisation. The decision comes hours after NBC — which broadcasts the Globes — condemned Mr Berk’s actions and called for his “immediate expulsion”.

The show’s producer, dick clark productions, also demanded Mr Berk’s removal.

Mr Berk, an eight-term association president, fell under heavy scrutiny after he sent an email on Sunday criticising Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

The South African-born Mr Berk shared an article that called Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement” and described Ms Cullors as a “self-proclaimed trained Marxist”, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

I no longer have confidence in our ability to collaboratively deliver the transformational change that the industry and people in it whom I deeply respect are demanding of you

The email was sent to HFPA members, staff and the group’s general counsel and chief operating officer.

Mr Berk had been a member of the organisation for more than 40 years.

Meanwhile, Shaun Harper, who was hired as a diversity strategist advisor by the HFPA last month but has now quit, said in his resignation letter that while initially optimistic when he joined the organisation, he felt compelled to step down after learning about its “deep systemic and reputational challenges”.

“I no longer have confidence in our ability to collaboratively deliver the transformational change that the industry and people in it whom I deeply respect are demanding of you,” said Mr Harper, a professor of racial, gender and LGBTQ issues at the University of Southern California.

In February, the HFPA was criticised for lacking diversity. At the time, the group had 87 members who are journalists, but none are black, the Times reported.

The organisation has said an “action plan” is under development to attract black members.

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