Critics Choice Member John Griffiths Resigns Over LGBTQ Celebration

By Chanak Maduranga

Published on:

Critics Choice Member John Griffiths Resigns Over LGBTQ Celebration

A member of the Critics Choice Association has resigned after more than a decade with the group, citing what he believes is a “transactional” process behind the CCA’s forthcoming inaugural Celebration of LGBTQ+ Cinema & Television.

John Griffiths, who was the longtime television critic for Us Weekly and has more recently written for the TV Academy’s Emmy magazine and AARP magazine, sent a note of resignation Sunday to the organization behind the Critics Choice Awards. The note, which has been obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, calls attention to the group’s apparent policy of expecting honorees to pay for a table at the ceremony.

“Despite my commitment to advancing queer and trans-centric representation, I have become deeply disheartened by the selection process for this event’s honorees,” Griffiths wrote. “Simply put, I believe many people expect that members of the Critics Choice Association are the ones who select the awardees for this celebration; instead, the awarding process appears to be transactional.”

His note continued, “While the LGBTQ celebration boasts a nice cross-section of honorees, an event that advocates for diversity on screen and TV should uphold the principles of equity and inclusion at all levels.”

Griffiths tells The Hollywood Reporter that he was initially excited when CCA chief Joey Berlin approached him to help with the group’s efforts to laud the LGBTQ+ entertainment community, much in the way that the organization has previously done with their Celebrations of Black, Latino and AAPI Cinema & Television. This year’s Celebration of LGBTQ+ Cinema & Television is set to take place June 7 at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles with host Sherry Cola.

In his letter of resignation, Griffiths wrote that he finalized his decision to exit upon hearing the event’s producer state in a Zoom meeting last week that, after previous discussion, there would not be room in the budget to allocate any of the proceeds to an LGBTQ charity.

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to a representative for Berlin for comment. Griffiths acknowledged he was not privy to how honorees for the event were selected, only that the CCA as a whole did not vote on them.

“Maybe I’m naive, but if something has the banner of ‘Critics Choice,’ it should be the critics’ choice,” he tells THR with a chuckle. “A lot of [observers] think that that’s what is happening here — that it’s the critics voting, at least in some way.” He adds, “That’s not the case. I got increasingly disheartened that it seems like the awards are bought.”

In response to his resignation note, Griffiths says Berlin sent an email to thank him for voicing his concerns, with Berlin expressing that he hoped to resolve these issues in order for Griffiths to continue as part of CCA. Griffiths says he responded that he is firm on resigning but that he suggested that the group’s LGBTQ members initially vote to decide the honorees and then later reach out to representatives to see about sponsoring the event. He also recommended bringing on a nonprofit organization as a co-presenter to split the proceeds.

Griffiths, who praises recent inclusion efforts behind the Oscars and Golden Globes, plans to focus his own advocacy efforts on GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, the group comprised of professional journalists that he founded in 2008 and continues to guide as executive director. In February, the group handed out its 15th annual Dorian Film Awards, with its television awards set to be announced in August.

“Ideally, it would be wonderful for this celebration to have queer folk do the voting,” Griffiths says. “But I don’t know if that works out business-wise for them.”

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

Leave a Comment