The governing board that presides over The Academy Awards is taking some big steps in the aftermath of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and many others in the film industry. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson revealed in an email to Academy members on Thursday that the organization is moving forward with efforts to establish a code of conduct. Here's what she had to say in an excerpt from her email.
"Like you, the Academy's Board of Governors is concerned about sexual harassment and predatory behavior in the workplace, especially in our own industry. We believe our Academy has a role to play in fostering a safe and respectful atmosphere for the professionals who make motion pictures. To this end, we are taking steps to establish a code of conduct for our members, which will include a policy for evaluating alleged violations and determining if action regarding membership is warranted."
Dawn Hudson promised members that this code of conduct will be brought up when the 54-member Academy Board meets again in both December and January. This move comes less than two weeks after the Academy banned Harvey Weinstein from its ranks, with the Academy revealing in a statement on October 14 that, "The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify." The Academy's bylaws state that the Board of Directors can expel any member "for cause" with a two-thirds vote, but there aren't any rules in place governing the behavior of its members. Harvey Weinstein was only the second Academy member to be expelled by a two-thirds vote, with the first being Carmine Caridi, who was expelled when the Academy awards season screeners he was sent surfaced online, after loaning them to friends. Here's the rest of Dawn Hudson's email to Academy members below.
"Through our Membership and Administration Committee, we are consulting experts in law and ethics to gain a better understanding of what more we can and should be doing. Although we have no intention of functioning as an investigative body or moral court, we do have a right and duty as a voluntary association to maintain clear standards of workplace behavior for those we accept as members. The Board of Governors will take up this issue at its next scheduled meetings in December and January. We recognize this is a complex process that will take some time, but we are determined to move forward without delay."
The Academy's expulsion of Harvey Weinstein has also lead to questions about why he was expelled, and others with similar offenses, such as Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, continue to remain Academy members. There is no indication as of yet if the Academy is looking into expelling these members, or others like director James Toback, who has been accused of sexual harassment by a number of women who recently came forward. It isn't known if this code of conduct will be in place by the time the 90th Annual Academy Awards take place on Sunday, March 4, 2018. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on the Academy's impending code of conduct.