The embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the annual Golden Globe Awards, announced Wednesday the hiring of its first full-time chief diversity officer to bolster its equity and inclusion efforts.

The HFPA came under fire last year following revelations that it historically lacked any Black members.

Neil Phillips, an Aspen Institute Education Entrepreneurship Fellow and a member of the inaugural Echoing Green/Open Society Foundation Black Male Achievement Fellowship, will take on the role of chief diversity officer.

“Neil brings a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity not just to the HFPA, but also to the Hollywood community and media industry,” HFPA President Helen Hoehne said in a statement. “Through our reform process, we believe it is not sufficient to just make progress internally, but also necessary to provide a platform for greater diversity and inclusion in our industry and the entertainment community our members cover. His willingness to talk openly about uncomfortable subjects and lead by example makes him an exceptional voice for change and we look forward to supporting his work.”

A Harvard University graduate and former professional basketball player in Australia, Phillips said he was looking forward to working with the HFPA and the broader Hollywood community “and media industries that have struggled to discuss these issues of race openly and candidly without fear.”

“I have always believed love is the answer to just about everything and if that makes people uncomfortable, that’s okay because discomfort signals an opportunity for growth and discussion,” he said in a statement. “I’ve spent my entire career managing my own discomfort and diving deeply into the realm of breaking the bonds of systemic racism and having the uncomfortable, yet productive, conversations that can radically change organizations and individual lives.”

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