As Academy Debates Action on Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby is Still a Member
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will meet on Saturday to decide whether to expel Harvey Weinstein. But doing so would be a highly unusual move for the organization, as Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski are both still members.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of course, is the organization that votes on the Oscars every year, and it is made up of about 6,600 people. Although the Academy does not offer a public listing of all of its members, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed this week that Bill Cosby remains in the organization even after being accused of sexually assaulting over 60 women.
Roman Polanski is also still a member of the Academy despite being charged with raping a 13-year-old in 1977. Polanski initially pled not guilty but ultimately accepted a plea bargain and pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse. Additionally, Polanski was accused of rape again earlier this month. Not only was Polanski never expelled from the Academy, but he was awarded the prize for Best Director for The Pianist in 2002.
Mel Gibson is also still a member, with the Academy not expelling him after he was caught on tape making anti-Semitic and racist remarks in at least two separate incidents. Gibson was nominated for an Oscar in 2017 for directing Hacksaw Ridge.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has only expelled a member once in its history, and that’s because the person made unauthorized copies of movie screeners. Never has the organization expelled someone for any other reason. But this week, it is facing pressure to do so with Harvey Weinstein, especially since he was such a major player at the Oscars for so many years, being behind several movies that have won Best Picture including Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has already suspended Harvey Weinstein’s membership, but at this time, all the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has done is released a statement admonishing Weinstein. However, they did leave open the possibility in their statement that they could take further action, presumably including suspension.
“The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents,” the Academy said in a statement. “The Board of Governors will be holding a special meeting on Saturday, October 14, to discuss the allegations against Weinstein and any actions warranted by the Academy.”
While all members of the Academy seem to universally agree that Weinstein’s actions were despicable and must be condemned, there’s some debate about whether expelling him is the right move, as it would naturally raise the question as to why people like Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski are not expelled as well.
On Thursday, CBS Films President Terry Press announced that if Harvey Weinstein is not kicked out of the Academy, she will leave the organization.