It’s safe to say that Hollywood is no stranger to scandal. The latest news out of the entertainment capital will see a longtime member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association expelled for a recent email incident. Philip Berk, who was once accused of groping The Mummy star Brendan Fraser, was dismissed from the group after more than four decades of membership.
In a statement released by the HFPA, Berk was summarily expelled from the organization for emailing members an article that suggested Black Lives Matter is a “racist hate movement.” Here’s the official release:
Effective immediately, Phil Berk is no longer a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
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 HFPA condemns all forms of racism, discrimination and hate speech and finds such language and content unacceptable.
The news comes after the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the email chain in which Berk shared the post. According to the report, the email was shared with members of the committee and was ultimately condemned by a number of members, including COO Gregory Goeckner.
Philip Berk’s email controversy is just the latest in a series of scandals that have rocked the Golden Globe committee over the last year. The organization was previously criticized for having zero Black voting members. More recently, the HFPA decided to relegate Steven Yeun’s Minari to the Foreign Film category, which led to an outpouring of online backlash.
The HFPA’s prompt response to Berk’s actions in addition to recent changes to the Academy Awards qualifications are promising signs that times are changing in Hollywood, but there is still a long way to go. Hopefully new movies, such as the impressively diverse Mortal Kombat, and fundamental changes will pave the way for a more accepting and diverse entertainment industry.