In protest of the ongoing controversy surrounding the lack of diversity within the HFPA’s membership, Tom Cruise has returned the three Golden Globe trophies he earned for “Born on the Fourth of July” (best actor, drama), “Jerry Maguire” (best actor, comedy or musical), and “Magnolia” (best supporting actor), Variety has confirmed.
It is the most high profile repudiation yet of the HFPA from a single star, after several actors including Scarlet Johansson and Marc Ruffalo called for the industry to “step back” from the Globes until more substantial reforms are put in place within the HFPA organization. Netflix, Amazon, and WarnerMedia have all announced boycotts of the HFPA, and NBCUniversal announced on Monday that NBC would not air the Globes in 2022.
In response, filmmaker Ava DuVernay praised Cruise’s actions on Twitter: “That time that Tom Cruise sent his @goldenglobes for ‘Jerry Maguire,’ ‘Magnolia’ and ‘Born on the Fourth of July’ in an actual box to the reception desk of HFPA to stand against their sexist, homophobic, racist practices of exclusion, harassment and bias.”
On May 3, the HFPA announced it is aiming to add 20 new members in 2021, with a goal to increase its full membership by 50% in 18 months, all with a focus on recruiting underrepresented groups. That plan was approved by the full membership which is less than 90 people three days later, but it did nothing to quell the growing chorus of condemnation of the HFPA, which first came under scrutiny after the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year that there were no Black members of the HFPA. Former HFPA president Meher Tatna also told Variety that the group hasn’t had a Black member since at least 2002, when she first joined.
The HFPA’s broader practices from demanding special treatment and lavish perks to sexist, homophobic, and racially insensitive questions at press events have come under criticism as well. In April, the HFPA also expelled former president Phil Berk amid another firestorm of criticism after Berk sent an email to members in which he called Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement” and alleged that co-founder Patrisse Cullors was a “self-proclaimed trained Marxist.”