6 Winners and Losers from the Golden Globes Payola Lawsuit
Guys, you aren't going to believe this. A former publicist for the Golden Globes has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association alleging payola in connection with the awards ceremony. Gasp! (Insert Casablanca reference here.) Michael Russell, who represented the Golden Globes for years as its lead publicist, alleges that he was fired from his position last year because he asked the HFPA to stop with their alleged shady shenanigans. Allegedly. Ahead, Movieline weighs in on the winners and losers of this new litigation.
WINNER: Common Sense
OK, it was never proved to be payola, but what do you call members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association taking a "Sony-sponsored trip to Las Vegas to see Cher in concert" in support of Burlesque? Smoke, meet fire. Just sayin'.
LOSER: Michael Russell
Even if he's telling the truth, Russell comes off like Hollywood Foreign Press Association head Philip Berk makes him sound: "Michael Russell and Steve Locasio's allegations are completely without merit. This is no more than the case of a disgruntled former consulting firm, whose contract was not renewed, attempting to take advantage once again of the Globe's international stage for their own gain." True that, Berkie, but don't think your alleged slow-walk to rebuff HFPA corruption looks great either.
WINNER: The Oscars
Hollywood politics might dictate that Academy voters pick their friends/against their enemies -- and sometimes they don't even watch all the films; paging Ernest Borgnine -- but at least you never hear about celebrities getting free, studio-sponsored trips to Las Vegas. To support Burlesque.
Being tossed into a payola scandal -- true or false -- is not the way to make an already suspect-for-their-tastes voting "authority" appear more credible. Plus, you have to wonder what this scandal will do for their relations with NBC. The Globes contract runs out this year, and though the lawsuit alleges that the HFPA has already resigned with NBC for a cool $26 million, that remains to be seen. Would NBC tape delay the awards? Get rid of them altogether? Is this lawsuit the first thread-pull on an already ratty sweater? We'll find out soon enough.
Alleged payola pays off!
LOSER: True Grit
Alleged payola pays off.