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January 18, 2011
Lawsuit: 'Golden Globes' Tarnished By Improper Campaigning
 
A lawsuit having to do with the tone of public relations campaigning, at least in the movie industry, has been filed against the Golden Globes award awards (held last Sunday) and will be important to watch. The awards' long-time PR firm claims it was defamed and fired for warning repeatedly against the use by Golden Globes management of "shady practices," like payola, for promoting movies.

Cinepoint Productions and the Michael Russell Group, the aggrieved publicists, are seeking $2 million on "defamation, fraud, interference and other charges." According to a one-sided news story (news release it actually seems) on the Courthouse News Service, Phlip Berk, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), owner of the Golden Globes, is the principal alleged villain.

According to The Wrap Hollywood website, the lawsuit alleges that Berk demanded kickbacks from Golden Globes sponsors and asserts "general corruption and fraudulent practices by the HFPA as a whole, saying that the group can be bribed by studios and networks for nominations, takes money to lobby others and sells media credentials to the ceremony and red carpet."

Such practices, if they, in fact, exist at the Golden Globes, are anathema to the legitimate practice of public relations and need to be opposed wherever they may exist. We're hoping for definitive resolution of this particular lawsuit. The charges are too serious for it to be filed and forgotten. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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