In a lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles federal court Monday, Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa accuses the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the Golden Globes, of violating antitrust laws, effectively functioning as an illegal cartel. “The HFPA is so focused on protecting its monopoly position and tax-free benefits that it has adopted Bylaw provisions that exclude from membership all objectively qualified applicants who might possibly compete with an existing member,” Flaa, who was denied HFPA membership in 2018 and 2019, alleges in the suit.
Flaa claims the organization’s 87 members seek to retain a monopoly on entertainment reporting to the detriment of nonmember journalists and photographers seeking admittance, and accuses members Aud Berggren Morisse and Tina Johnk Christensen of allegedly campaigning against her application in order to retain their hold over Scandinavian coverage of Hollywood news.
According to Flaa, who is based in Los Angeles, the organization’s members enjoy free travel, five-star hotel stays, and other perks from “the studios’ largesse,” in addition to receiving “lavish sums of money to provide nominal services to the HFPA.” As a result, she says, applicants to the group are “virtually always rejected, because the majority of its 87 members are unwilling to share or dilute the enormous economic benefits they receive as members.”
As a result, Flaa’s suit “seeks to enforce the right of fair procedure long applied by California to private organizations that affect a person’s ability to earn a lawful living; declare unlawful the provisions of the HFPA’s Bylaws used unfairly to deny admission to qualified applicants; and recover under applicable antitrust laws for the economic harm she has suffered as the result of defendants’ unlawful conduct.” As of Monday evening, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has yet to comment on the suit, the full text of which you can read here.