Months after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Harvey Weinstein following widespread accusations of sexual misconduct, the Academy has now removed two more from its ranks, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski. The decision to expel Cosby comes just days after he was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Costrand. Polanski has been living overseas for 40 years after he fled the United States in 1978 while awaiting sentencing for statutory rape. Here's what the Academy had to say in their full statement.
"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."
While the expulsion of Cosby was most likely made in the aftermath of his guilty verdict, which was a re-trial after the original trial resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial, the Polanski expulsion certainly comes as a surprise to many. In late October, just weeks after the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct accusations were first revealed, the Academy unveiled a new code of conduct, "which will include a policy for evaluating alleged violations and determining if action regarding membership is warranted." That code of conduct was announced just days after the Academy expelled Harvey Weinstein.
Harvey Weinstein had only been the second member of the Academy in its storied history to be expelled, with the first being Carmine Caridi in 2004. The actor, who was best known for playing Carmine Salvino in The Godfather: Part II, was expelled for sharing an Academy "for your consideration" screener with a friend, who then uploaded it onto the internet. Now with the expulsions of Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, it will be interesting to see if the Academy has plans to purge more from its ranks in the near future, but Polanski's attorney, Harald Braun, said the Academy sets a bad example for expelling Polanski without giving the director a chance to defend himself. Here's what Braun had to say below.
"It sets a very poor example. It seems to be wrong to just expel someone and make a decision without knowing all the facts. He accepted responsibility. He apologized to the woman. She has accepted his apology. It's a very ignorant thing to do."
After the accusations were leveled against Harvey Weinstein, scores of women came forward with accusations against other prominent Hollywood figures, including director James Toback. 38 women came forward with accusations against Toback, with an additional 200 coming forward after those women told their stories. However, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office revealed last month it will not file any charges against the director, since the allegations fall outside of the statute of limitations for these alleged crimes, with some of these accused incidents dating back to 1978.
It is unclear at this time if any formal charges will be filed against Harvey Weinstein or other prominent figures such as Kevin Spacey, who has been investigated by Scotland Yard for accusations against the actor during his time at the Old Vic Theater. Head over to Variety for their full report.