Philip Berk, who served on the board of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for 44 years, was removed after he emailed colleagues an article that characterized Black Lives Matter as “a racist movement,” and called co-founder Patrisse Cullors a “self-proclaimed trained Marxist,” as first reported by The Los Angeles Times.
“Since its inception, the HFPA has dedicated itself to bridging cultural connections and creating further understanding of different backgrounds through film and TV. The views expressed in the article circulated by Mr. Berk are those of the author of the article and do not — in any way shape or form — reflect the views and values of the HFPA,” the organization’s board said Tuesday in a statement.
“The HFPA condemns all forms of racism, discrimination and hate speech and finds such language and content unacceptable,” the HFPA said.
"The HFPA has dedicated itself to bridging cultural connections and creating further understanding of different backgrounds through film and TV," the organization said in a statement, adding that his views and values do not reflect those of the HFPA https://t.co/XuzkUu26Wn
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) April 20, 2021
The article Berk allegedly sent to his colleagues was “BLM Goes Hollywood” by David Greenfield, published on April 12 in FrontPage Mag. Greenfield’s piece called out the hypocrisy of Cullors’ million-dollar housing binge. Upon sending the piece, board members responded with anger.
“Please remove me from any racist email you wish to send to the membership. Dr. Harper has been notified, here, that you are equating the Black Lives Matter moment to the Charles Manson murderous gang,” member Rui Coimbra responded.
“I think that what we need to do is be more tolerant of everyone’s opinions. Stop calling everyone and everything racist! Isn’t that what people who don’t know anything about us are accusing us of?” wrote member Noemia Young.
“You are a thundering disgrace Phil Berk,” said member Patricia Danaher.
Berk was removed by the board only hours after NBC News, who hosts the Golden Globes, was pressured by the association to take action. Berk, the former president of HFPA, was one of 87 members on the board.
“NBC strongly condemns Phil Berk’s actions and is calling for his immediate expulsion,” NBC said. “While we continue to await the details of HFPA’s upcoming plan for reform, swift action on this front is an essential element for NBC to move forward with the HFPA and the Golden Globes.”
In February, the association came under heavy fire after it was revealed that the leftist group had zero black members on its board. After this revelation, the board claimed it would nominate 13 black people to serve. The group’s diversity consultant, Shaun Harper, resigned upon the ousting of Berk.
“My serious, unwavering commitment to the racial and gender equity issues on which I work every day make it impossible for me to continue serving in a consulting capacity with the HFPA,” Harper said, who is also a professor of racial, gender, and LGBTQ issues at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
“The HFPA was already under the microscope for its lack of black members, so it’s not surprising that Berk would be promptly let go by the group,” Film critic Christian Toto told The Federalist.