Jerrod Carmichael Skewers Golden Globes Controversy in Opening Monologue

jerrod carmichael golden globes opening monologue

It took roughly two minutes for the Golden Globes to address the controversy that saw its 2022 ceremony banished from the airways, as the one-time major precursor award show kicked off its comeback on Tuesday, January 10 in Los Angeles (Wednesday, January 11 in Australia).

Host Jerrod Carmichael opened the show with a scathing monologue that skewered the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s racism scandal.

“I’ll tell you why I’m here: I’m here ‘cause I’m Black,” Carmichael said. “I’ll tell you what’s been going on. This show, the Golden Globe Awards, did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — which I won’t say were a racist organisation, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died. So do with that information what you will. I’ll tell you how I got here.”

The host and comedian continued: “One minute you’re making mint tea at home, the next minute you’re invited to be the Black face of an embattled white organisation. Life comes at you pretty fast, you know?

“So I said, ‘Stephen, I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little torn because you know, one, it’s a great opportunity. Thank you for the call. But I’m only being asked to host this because I’m Black,” Carmichael continued. “And Stephen said, ‘Let me stop you right there. You are being asked to host this show because you are talented. You’re being asked to host this show because you’re charming … But Stephens’ Black, so what does he know?”

Calling it a “moral racial dilemma”, Carmichael said that he called his friend Avery, noting, “who for the sake of this monologue represents every Black person in America”, and asked her what he should do.

He recalled: “She was like, ‘Well, how much are they paying you?’ And I said, ‘It’s not about the money, honestly, it’s about the moral question…’ She said, ‘How much are they paying you?’ And I said, ‘$500,000.’ And she said, ‘Boy, if you don’t put on a good suit and take them white people money…’ And I kind of forget that where I’m from, we all live by a strict ‘take the money’ mentality. Black informants for the FBI in the 60s, I bet their families were still proud of them.”

Carmichael accepted the hosting gig, and said that he was “proud of that decision”, until he received an email from his publicist informing him that Helen Hoehne, president of the HFPA, wanted to meet with him.

“I said, ‘No thanks, I know a trap when I hear a trap’,” he said. “Then they came back like, ‘Well, they’re not really asking, they’re insisting that you take the meeting.’ And I’m like, ‘Or what?! They’re gonna fire me?!’ Then haven’t had a Black host for 79 years and they’re gonna fire first one? I’m unfire-able.

“And it came back again, a third time: ‘Helen really just wants to educate you on the changes that the organisation has made in regards to diversity.’ And I’ll be totally honest with everyone here tonight: I don’t really need to hear it. I took this job assuming they hadn’t changed at all.”

“I heard they got six new black members, congrats for them, whatever, sure,” he said. “I’m here, truly, because I look out into this room and I see a lot of talented people. People that I admire. People that I would like to be like. People that I’m jealous of, and people that are actually really incredible artists. And regardless of whatever the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s past may be, this is an evening where we get to celebrate. And I think this industry deserves evenings like these. And I’m happy you all are here. And I hope you have some fun tonight.”

Later in the evening, HFPA president Helen Hoehne took the stage, thanking everyone on behalf of the Golden Globes for joining them.

“We’re grateful to have the support of the industry to help us celebrate our 80th anniversary,” she said. “This has been a year of momentous change for our organisation. We are proud of the work we have done, the progress we have made, and the journey we are on. We commit to continue strengthening our partnership with Hollywood and with our worldwide fans, who celebrate — like we do — the best in film and television. We will continue to support groups that amplify a variety of voices, and continue to add representation to our organisation, from around the world, as we did this past year. Thank you again for joining us, and thank you to our presenters, and congratulations to all our nominees and winners.”

In February 2021, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association came under fire after the Los Angeles Times published an article titled “Who really gives out the Golden Globes? A tiny group full of quirky characters — and no Black members”, a scathing exposé of the 87 journalists who made up the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The article shed light on the mysterious organisation behind one of Hollywood’s biggest award shows, and in a follow-up article, painted a picture of corruption and bribery within the organisation. Notably, the article revealed that Netflix had flown 30 HFPA members to France for a luxury press trip, which included a two-night stay at the five-star Peninsula Paris hotel, which costs approximately US$1,400 a night. The official HFPA guidelines explicitly state that members are not to accept gifts at a value greater than US$125.

In the wake of the scandal, NBC chose to pull out of airing the 2022 ceremony, effectively cancelling the show.

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” NBC said in a statement to Variety at the time. “However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organisation executes its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

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