• Hollywood Foreign Press and Stars For a Cause Settles Lawsuit


    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Stars for a Cause have settled the charity’s  lawsuit alleging that HFPA President Phil Berk interfered to their detriment while the group was trying to work out a deal with NBC and Chrysler.   Stars for a Cause and its co-founder, George Braunstein, sued the HFPA in January 2011. The allegations included intentional interference with a contract and defamation. The suit stated the charity was working with Chrysler to donate a car that would be signed by various celebrities at the awards show and auctioned off to benefit Haitian Earthquake Relief and other organizations.

    The HFPA puts on the annual Golden Globes ceremony.

    A settlement was reached Feb. 11, the same day the HFPA reached a resolution of litigation brought by its former publicist, Michael Russell. In both cases the settlement terms were not divulged.

    The Stars for a Cause suit alleged that Berk used telephone calls and emails to portray Stars for a Cause as a fraudulent organization.

    “Berk and HFPA engaged in despicable conduct when making these statements,” the suit stated. “Berk and HFPA acted intentionally … and with knowledge that his statements were false.”

    Berk and the HFPA denied any wrongdoing.

    In his suit, Russell alleged he was fired in 2010 by the HFPA after 17 years when he asked bosses to stop accepting “payola.” He filed the case three days before the 2011 awards ceremony.

    Payola is a term coined in the music industry, in which producers pay radio stations to include their artists’ songs on playlists. Russell alleges HFPA members involved with the Golden Globes accepted payments from studios for representing films.

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