Golden Globes 'forced writer to suicide'

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation responsible for the Golden Globe awards, has been accused of many things down the years, including sycophancy, rank amateurism and corruption. But now it faces a distinctly uncomfortable new charge: that it has blood on its hands.

One of the Association's 86 voting members, Nick Douglas, committed suicide in Ireland this month and, according to his editor at an Irish gossip magazine, his death was directly linked to the HPFA's decision to exclude him from its screenings and publicity junkets after a series of disciplinary infractions.

Barry O'Kane, who handled dozens of Mr Douglas's columns for the magazine Big Buzz, made his incendiary accusation in the pages of The New York Times, guaranteeing maximum exposure just days after the HPFA announced its eagerly-awaited Golden Globe nominations.

"They basically took a livelihood away from a guy who was out there trying to earn a living," Mr O'Kane said. "It led completely, directly to what ended up happening to Nick."

To call Mr O'Kane's assertions contentious would be a vast understatement. Many rank-and-file HPFA members have reacted with quiet fury at what they see as an entirely unsupported allegation, and accused the Irish editor of causing needless additional pain for Mr Douglas's family by disclosing his suicide.

First, they say, Mr Douglas's year-long suspension from the Association was entirely justified because he was caught selling a photograph of himself with the actor Tom Selleck at an HPFA event to a supermarket tabloid - an absolute no-no under the organisation's rules. He also tried to hustle for work as an actor by circulating photographs of himself with Tom Cruise - photos also taken under the HPFA's auspices - and was seen stealing crockery and unopened drinks from receptions at high-class Los Angeles hotels.

Secondly, Mr Douglas was reinstated with only slightly curtailed membership privileges last August. Thirdly, they added, he had only been a member of the Association for three years, but had managed to produce his Big Buzz column perfectly adequately for the previous eight or nine. So it was simply untrue that he was denied the opportunity to make a living as an entertainment journalist.

Still, the accusation has hit a nerve. For years, the HPFA was known as a disreputable club of freelancers and part-timers whose power and money derived solely from the television broadcast of the Golden Globes. Since the late 1990s, it has made an effort to make sure its members actually write for a living and established disciplinary rules. This year's ceremony takes place on 16 January.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence