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Film Academy expels Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from membership

After the Harvey Weinstein scandal last October, numerous men in the entertainment industry have been accused of acts of sexual misconduct – including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, and Brett Ratner –  with many facing repercussions for their actions. As a result of all this, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences instituted a new code of conduct back in December. Following these new procedures, the Academy’s board of governors has voted to expel comedian Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership.

The vote was made on Tuesday during the board’s normal meeting, and then put out a statement Thursday saying:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors met on Tuesday night (May 1) and has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct. The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.

The decision to expel Cosby came after the comedian was convicted of three counts of sexual assault by Andrea Constand last Thursday. This trail came after Cosby’s first trial in 2017, which was labeled as a mistrial after jurors could not come to a decision. In total, Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by almost 60 women.

Since Tuesday, Cosby’s name has been taken off the Academy’s Hall of Fame honorees on their website, and a statue of him that was removed during the Hall of Fame Plaza’s renovation will not be returned.

As for Polanski, the Oscar-winning director was charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, Samantha Geimer, back in 1977. He then spent 42 days in jail but faced sentencing for statutory rape in 1978. Since then, Polanski has been avoiding extradition by living outside the U.S. for years. He wasn’t even able to come back to accept his Best Director Oscar for THE PIANIST back in 2003.

As part of the board’s new rules, after a complaint is received they are supposed to give accused members 10 days’ notice to offer a written response, after which the board will deliberate on discipline. Harland Braun, Polanski’s attorney, said Polanski was not given this treatment, and that they intend to fight back against the expulsion.

“It sets a very poor example. It seems to be wrong to just expel someone and make a decision without knowing all the facts,” Braun said.

Regarding his acts with Geimer, Braun said “He accepted responsibility. He apologized to the woman. She has accepted his apology. It’s a very ignorant thing to do.”

Braun is preparing to make statements to the board, which will even include statements from Geimer herself. She put out a statement yesterday (via Vanity Fair) decrying the Academy’s decision saying, “It is an ugly and cruel action which serves only appearance. It does nothing to change the sexist culture in Hollywood today and simply proves that they will eat their own to survive. I say to Roman, good riddance to bad rubbish, the Academy has no true honor, it’s all just P.R.”

Harvey Weinstein is also a major figure who was expelled from the Academy, and allegations of misconduct were brought up against Academy president, John Bailey, earlier this year. However, the board dismissed those charges in March, and Bailey is still in his position.

Source: VarietyTHR

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