Tarana Burke, the creator of the #MeToo movement, was among eight activists chosen to attend the show that year as the guest of a celebrity. Burke walked the red carpet, posing for the cameras and conducting interviews with actress Michelle Williams.
The movement went on to women worldwide to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault and the red carpet move was the type of public relations moment concocted to go viral.
In 2019, Sandra Oh made history by becoming the first woman of Asian descent to co-host, and the first woman of Asian descent to win multiple Golden Globe Awards. Several artists of color took home trophies, including actress Regina King. During her acceptance speech King vowed to ensure her production staff is 50 percent women.
“Next year could be different, it probably will be,” predicted Oh at the time.
She was right.
And at this year’s Golden Globes, the audience was subjected to a reckless monologue by British comedian Ricky Gervais that began with a joke about pedophilia and made light of Weinstein’s sex crimes in the presence of his most outspoken survivors and their loved ones. More than two years after his sexual crimes were publicly exposed, Weinstein now faces five felony charges for sexual assault and rape that could result in a life sentence. The highly anticipated trial begins on Monday in New York City.
Known for his offensive humor, Gervais recently came under fire for telling transphobic jokes and using the n-word, a choice he later defended in an interview. Unlike comedian Kevin Hart, who was forced to make a public apology and stepped down from hosting the 2019 Oscars for past homophobic tweets, Gervais has not been held accountable.
And while Gervais may have riled the audience, there was little regard for Weinstein’s survivors and other survivors of sexual violence that might be watching. In response, organizations like Women in Film rushed to provide the public with phone numbers for support hotlines.
Like the Oscars, the Golden Globes has solidified its position as one of the top three award shows in the United States, drawing over 18 million viewers. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s poor choice of host is just a symptom of a larger problem.
For years, journalists have documented the lack of inclusion of women and people of color at prestigious award shows celebrating Hollywood’s top talent, questioning their relevance in a rapidly changing world. Despite a record year for women directors, there were no women writers or directors nominated for a Golden Globe Award this year.
Kasi Lemmons, director and co-writer of the Golden Globe nominated film “Harriet,” said it best in an interview with CNN: “Hollywood’s image of a director is a white man.”
This year’s telecast confirmed Hollywood will never change its practices until audiences demand better by refusing to watch award shows that only pacify us with performative activism. As it stands, these shows only exist to honor the talent of white men.