Do Not Drag the HFPA President for Wearing Red at the Golden Globes

One of the main takeaways from this year's Golden Globes is the importance of looking beyond what a woman wears and instead, paying attention to what she does and what she says—and that's exactly what we should be doing in regard to Meher Tatna

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, HFPA President Meher Tatna speaks onstage during the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

(Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Nearly all the presenters, journalists and actors attending the 2018 Golden Globes showed their solidarity with the Time’s Up campaign to end workplace sexual harassment and inequality by wearing black—a dress code which made Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Meher Tatna’s head-to-toe red ensemble stand out, to say the least.

The HFPA hosts the Golden Globes, and as a result, Tatna’s wardrobe choice became a target for pointed criticism. Many Twitter users assumed that Tatna’s red dress and overcoat ensemble meant that she wasn’t a supporter of Time’s Up, and were quick to drag her on Twitter.

But while the colour of her clothes may not have blended in with the crowd, there is little question that Tatna stands in solidarity with the women and male allies fighting for equality. And she made that clear when she took the stage.

“On behalf of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, I am thrilled to celebrate our 75th anniversary with you and we welcome and support women standing together today,” she said, placing her hand on the Time’s Up pin positioned over her heart. “Yes, time’s up.”

And with that, she also announced two new HFPA grants of $1 million each to go towards the non-profit and non-partisan International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

It’s clear that Tatna is in no way oblivious or ambivalent to the women’s movement that is taking place in Hollywood and other industries right now.

“I am really glad that women are finally feeling safe enough to come forward and talk about their experiences,” she told Vanity Fair in a recent interview. “I am totally in solidarity with them. It’s not just in Hollywood that this happens. I was a waitress—the groping and pinching happened… back then, nobody felt safe enough to say anything. You thought you’d be fired; you thought you would be ostracized. So yeah, I’m really glad that they found that power, and I hope that this is a time of profound change.”

And while some may have thought that her outfit indicated that she wasn’t part of that change, the red dress was symbolic in an entirely different way. Tatna, who was born in Mumbai, India, told Access Hollywood that she chose not to wear black because in her culture, that colour is only worn by widows in mourning. Conversely, in India, red is considered a celebratory colour, which is why she chose to wear the bright hue for the landmark 75th Golden Globes ceremony.

“My mom and I planned this together a couple of months ago, it is a cultural thing,” Tatna told Entertainment Tonight. “When you have a celebration, you don’t wear black. So she would be appalled if I were to [have] worn black. And so this is, for my mom.”

She also added that the HFPA is 60 percent women and, like the women coming forward in Hollywood, she says they have their own stories as well. “We are also journalists, so anybody who expresses themselves, especially on this topic, we are in solidarity with,” Tatna told ET.

Even if her cultural heritage wasn’t the reason why she chose not to wear black, the important thing is that she is fighting alongside the women of Time’s Up, and saying otherwise is simply tearing a fellow activist down. One of the main takeaways from this year’s Golden Globes is the importance of looking beyond what a woman wears and instead, paying attention to what she does and what she says—and that’s exactly what we should be doing in regard to Tatna.

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