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Shonda Rhimes Claims the HFPA ‘Rejected’ a ‘Bridgerton’ Press Conference Until the Show Became a ‘Surprise Hit’

Big mistake! Shonda Rhimes responded to allegations that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association passed on an opportunity to learn more about her hit show Bridgerton ahead of the 2021 Golden Globe Awards.

Related: Everything We Know About Season 2 of 'Bridgerton'

“HFPA rejected our press conference. Until it was a ‘surprise hit’ (Grey’s, Scandal, Murder –SURPRISE!),” the executive producer, 51, tweeted on Tuesday, March 16. “And yet they STILL asked me to show up in person to present at the Globes. We’re not the only ones. This is why HFPA’s house is on fire. They lit the flame w/their own ignorance.”

The Wrap reported on Tuesday that the HFPA — the organization that decides who gets nominated for and wins Golden Globes — declined to attend press conferences and other promotional events for Black-led projects, including Bridgerton, Queen & Slim and Girls Trip. The HFPA allegedly passed on a press conference for the Netflix series but later tried to quickly piece together an event mere days before voting closed due to the show’s success.

Related: Get to Know the Gorgeous Cast of Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton’

The allegations come after the Los Angeles Times reported in February that the HFPA’s group of 87 members does not include a single Black journalist. The organization addressed the controversy during the 2021 awards show later that month, with one member stating, “We recognize that we have our own work to do. Just like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.”

Shonda Rhimes: HFPA ‘Rejected’ ‘Bridgerton’ Until It Became ‘Surprise Hit’
Shonda Rhimes. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Earlier this week, the HFPA announced that it would require “at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists.”

Related: See the ‘Bridgerton’ Cast’s Dating Histories

As for Bridgerton, which debuted in December 2020, the show became the most popular series in Netflix’s history, with 82 million households streaming the drama within its first 28 days on the platform. However, it surprisingly failed to receive any Golden Globe nominations. The cast and star Regé-Jean Page were recognized with Screen Actors Guild Awards nods for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series and Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series, respectively.

Shonda Rhimes: HFPA ‘Rejected’ ‘Bridgerton’ Until It Became ‘Surprise Hit’
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in “Bridgerton.” Liam Daniel/Netflix

Prior to Rhimes speaking out against the HFPA, Ava DuVernay shared a similar story about her alleged experience with the organization in regards to her 2019 Netflix series, When They See Us, which won two Emmy Awards.

“For the WHEN THEY SEE US/ HFPA press conference, less than 20 of them showed up,” the director, 48, tweeted on Tuesday. “Based on the quality of their questions, I jokingly asked ‘Have any of you seen the series?’ Crickets. More came in the room when the pix were to be taken, at which time two peddled their scripts.”

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