The Hollywood Creative Alliance has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Critics Choice Association stemming from CCA’s new ban on its members belonging to both organizations.
In court documents filed Tuesday in Los Angeles, the HCA claimed the CCA made an “attempt to boycott and steal members of the HCA.”
Trouble between the organizations began the week after the 2024 Critics Choice Awards, when CCA accused HCA of influence peddling — specifically, of telling studios and the representatives of certain nominees that it had several members who were also members of the Critics Choice Association.
CCA at that time informed members that in order to remain part of the organization in good standing, they must resign from HCA.
CCA wrote to its members, “The reason CCA has taken this action is that we have evidence that a representative of the HCA has improperly suggested to at least one studio (and we suspect more) that it could influence Critics Choice Awards voting in a way that led that studio to reach out to CCA and request that action be taken to protect the integrity of our awards.”
On Jan. 18 the HCA entirely disputed the claim. An HCA spokesperson told TheWrap, “During these conversations, we acknowledged that our awards ceremonies took place during a key voting period for various organizations and noted that several of our members belonged to several guilds and organizations; ones that we champion and support.”
HCA repeated these denials of wrongdoing in the lawsuit, saying, “At no point did HCA say or do anything other than, as is common, suggest that personal appearances at its award shows might be beneficial to studio talent. In fact, as CCA well knows, there is nothing unusual or improper about an entertainment trade association pointing out that there may be benefits to studios and talent from networking with voters.”
“CCA deliberately sought to interfere with HCA’s relationships with members, of existential value to HCA. HCA reinforced its interference with its false accusations of voting improprieties it asserted were committed by HCA,” the lawsuit adds.
The lawsuit accuses CCA of: Trade libel and defamation; violation of the Cartwright Act (California’s antitrust law); intentional interference with prospective economic advantage; and violation of California’s unfair competition law.
The lawsuit demands an injunction that requires CCA to retract its accusation and retract the demand its members quit HCA, compensatory and punitive damages as well as triple the awarded damages, coverage of legal fees and other damages “the court deems fair and equitable.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.