The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 54-member board voted overwhelmingly to “immediately expel” big time Oscar player Harvey Weinstein from the governing body of the Academy Awards, according to The New York Times.
The Academy said in a statement that the vote was “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority,” breaking a 90-year precedent for the elite club with about 8,400 members. Between his work at Miramax and The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded, Weinstein’s films have received more than 300 Oscar nominations and secured 81 wins for films like “Pulp Fiction,” “Sling Blade” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
The Academy’s statement added, “We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society.”
On Oct. 5, the Times published a report detailing years of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein from multiple women, including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd.
The report, citing officials from The Weinstein Company, said that Weinstein had settled with at least eight different women. It detailed accounts from other women who described abuse and a culture that pressured them to stay silent at the risk of losing their jobs.
Three days after the Times’ report, Weinstein was fired from his role at The Weinstein Company. This week, a number of Democrats donated contributions they had received from Weinstein to charity.
The report was explosive in Hollywood, bringing a flood of statements from other women who said they had also been harassed or assaulted by Weinstein and raising a larger conversation about the pervasive mistreatment of women in film and other industries.
The Academy in its statement said it would “work to establish standards of conduct that all academy members will be expected to exemplify.”
Scott Feinberg, awards columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, told the Times that this is the beginning of a “very tough chapter” for the Academy if it is planning to hold up its promises.
“The next thing that is going to happen, rightly or wrongly, is that a wide variety of constituencies are going to demand that the Academy similarly address other problematic members,” Feinberg said.
The only other person to have been permanently expelled from the Academy is Carmine Caridi, a character actor who is said to have violated an Academy rule involving Oscar voting, according to the Times. Yet Roman Polanski, who pleaded guilty in a sex crime case involving a 13-year-old girl in 1977, and Bill Cosby, who has also been accused of sexual assault by dozens of women, still remain members.