Awards season just got ugly! Former Golden Globes publicist Michael Russell is suing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for fraud, claiming the show’s producers failed to renew their contract as promised in 2010. Russell, who worked the Globes since 1993, brings up far bigger crimes in his legal papers, including accusations of nomination-purchasing and voter-lobbying—habits Russell wanted them to stop. “Most of HFPA’s members are not full-time journalists and rely on income generated from these questionable practices each year,” he claims. “[The HFPA President] expressly acknowledged to Russell that these activities were problematic and the HFPA was a corrupt organization, that its members are only out to use the organization to generate income for themselves and that many conflicts of interest exist with regard to the above-specified activities of the HFPA and its members.”
This is hardly the first time the Golden Globes have been accused of shady dealings. Pia Zadora won “Newcomer Of The Year” in 1981 for Butterfly, and the FCC accused NBC of “misleading” viewers as to how winners were picked in 1968. But this case could mean serious trouble for the 67-year-old show: if the payola charges gain publicity, will actors even want to win this year…or ever again?
If you’re looking for something a little more credible this year, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards—whose voters are actual critics, and don’t give nominations to bombs like The Tourist—will be airing on VH1 tonight.