Golden Globes Voters Barred From Receiving Promo Products From Movie Studios
Golden Globes hopefuls are going to need to change their approach when it comes to courting voters, as members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the voting body for the awards) are now prohibited from receiving promotional items from networks and studios.
Those “for your consideration” mailers can get extravagant with tie-in promotional items, but HFPA membership voted last week on new bylaws, including barring “studios, publicists, actors, directors or others associated with motion pictures and television programs” from sending promotional materials to voters, according to The Wrap.
The decision follows a wave of controversy and bad press for the Golden Globes, with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association facing allegations of self-dealing, questionable ethics and much more. Per the Los Angeles Times:
But in the run-up to the 78th Golden Globe Awards ceremony slated to run Feb. 28, questions persist around the insular association’s legitimacy, the qualifications of its members and its ethics.
Interviews with more than 50 people—including studio publicists, entertainment executives and seven current and former members—as well as court filings and internal financial documents and communications, paint a picture of an embattled organization still struggling to shake its reputation as a group whose awards or nominations can be influenced with expensive junkets and publicity swag.
This is similar to what we saw with the revised PhRMA code in the early 2000s, which limited the ways pharmaceutical companies could market themselves to health practitioners. That was on a much larger scale, of course, but it was based on the same principle: promotional products are effective. So effective, in fact, that they can influence behavior in ways that might not always align with the best interests of the public.
In the case of the HFPA and the Golden Globes, the stakes are far lower than they were in pharma. But the decision seems reasonable, considering the unwritten rule of journalism (or written rule, depending on your employer) not to accept gifts from sources or, really, anyone, because it can appear that your opinion has been affected.
We can’t imagine the studios and production companies will give up that easily. There’s surely some loophole here. It might just be that they get very intricate with their packaging, since that’s not a gift. It’s just a way to create a stronger impression with the viewer.