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With the Golden Globes Tarnished, the Group Behind Them Adapts

Following months of criticism that led to the cancellation of next year’s Golden Globe Awards telecast by NBC, the group that hands out the awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, announced Thursday that it was instituting a series of reforms.

The group, a nonprofit, adopted a new set of bylaws that are aimed at revamping its leadership, increasing and diversifying its membership and stabilizing it to ensure the future of the lucrative awards program.

The association, a relatively small group of roughly 85 journalists who vote on the Golden Globes, has long been scrutinized over questions about its ethics, finances and journalistic credentials. But this year, following a Los Angeles Times investigation, a lawsuit and a growing outcry from the movie and television industries, NBC canceled the 2022 awards telecast, making swift changes necessary for the organization’s survival.

The group said Thursday that more than two thirds of its members had voted in favor of the new bylaws, which it said would make the organization more accountable.

The rules call for expanding the group’s board of directors to include people from outside the organization. The association will also bring on a new chief executive as well as heads of finance, human resources and a chief diversity officer.

The reforms also cleared away several of the barriers to membership the group had long had in place. For years, critics said that the association’s membership application process was opaque, biased and generally meant to keep most people out. But the association said it would now allow any journalist who would like to join to apply, and that new members will be selected by a credentials committee that will be comprised mainly of nonmembers.

All existing members — some of whom have had their journalistic credentials questioned over the years — will need to reapply to remain, the organization said. All members will be required to sign a new code of conduct, and will not be allowed to accept promotional materials or gifts from people associated with movies and television programs.

“Three months ago, we made a promise to commit to transformational change and with this vote we kept the last and most significant promise in reimagining the H.F.P.A. and our role in the industry,” Ali Sar, the group’s current board president, said in a statement. “All of these promised reforms can serve as industry benchmarks and allow us to once again partner meaningfully with Hollywood moving forward.”

Over the last several months, the association has gotten input on how it should change from various stakeholders, and the reforms announced on Thursday did not include some of the bolder proposals put forth, such as creating a spinoff, for-profit Golden Globes company.

It also did not set specific targets for enlarging its membership or diversifying its ranks, though officials have said they aim to increase membership by at least 50 percent. (The group has come under fire for one particular finding of The Los Angeles Times report: That although the group has more than 80 members, none of them are Black.)

Some of the association’s most important business partners reacted positively to the changes that were announced.

In a statement, NBC said it was “encouraged by the passage of the amended bylaws” and called it “a positive step forward” that “signals the H.F.P.A.’s willingness to do the work necessary for meaningful change.”

The statement did not discuss the status of a 2023 Golden Globes telecast.

Dick Clark Productions, the decades-long producer of the Golden Globes, similarly said it applauded the adoption of the new bylaws, calling the policy revisions “important” and expressing optimism about next steps.

“We look forward to seeing continued urgency, dedication and positive change,” the production company said, “in order to create a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and transparent future.”

Brooks Barnes contributed reporting.

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