On Thursday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) expelled Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from their membership. Which was a surprise to me, because I thought it already happened. I remember when Harvey Weinstein was expelled though, and there were some people (not many, but SOME) arguing that Weinstein should only be expelled when he’s convicted of a crime. Still, they expelled him and I guess they waited to see about Polanski and Cosby. Here’s what happened:
The Academy’s board of governors, following its new procedure for enforcing Standards of Conduct that it adopted in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, voted to expel the comedian and the director at its most recent meeting on Tuesday.
“The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” the Academy said in a statement announcing their expulsion. A five-time Oscar nominee, Polanski will keep the Oscar he was awarded in 2003 for directing The Pianist, an honor he couldn’t accept in person because he fled the U.S. in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
Best known for his television work on I Spy and The Cosby Show, Cosby never received any Motion Picture Academy honors, although he was active on the big screen in the 1970s, starring in such films as Uptown Saturday Night and Mother, Juggs and Speed. Also on Tuesday, the Television Academy removed Cosby’s name from its list of Hall of Fame honorees on its website, and a statue of Cosby that once was installed in the Academy’s Hall of Fame Plaza, which had been removed during renovations, will not be returned to the site, although Cosby remains a member of the TV Academy itself.
I would imagine that AMPAS will be receiving a word-salady letter from Camille Cosby any day now, screeching about how this move is exactly like… what happened to Medgar Evers! As for Polanski… well, apparently he’s quite upset about it as he sits around his Swiss rape chalet.
Roman Polanski‘s attorney says the director was blindsided by a decision to expel him from the organization that bestows the Academy Awards. Attorney Harland Braun says Polanski will ask the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to conduct a hearing so Polanski can make his case to remain in the prestigious body. Braun says that Polanski’s team was prepared to present academy officials a case for the Oscar-winner to remain in the organization but they were never given the opportunity.
Braun said he plans to ask the academy to reinstate the director, who remains a fugitive after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977.
In the past year, several of Polanski’s other victims have come forward to tell their stories, one of which involved Polanski assaulting/molesting someone when she was just 10 years old and one of which involved Polanski assaulting someone when she was just 15. It’s not just one case in LA from the 1970s – it’s many cases and many stories and many victims. The fact that Polanski even has a lawyer to fight these kinds of things is… problematic.
Photos courtesy of Getty.