A judge Tuesday denied Roman Polanski’s bid for reinstatement to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, finding the Oscar-winning director was not denied due process when he was expelled in 2018 along with Bill Cosby.
Polanski fled the United States in 1978 after being charged in Los Angeles with statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl. He has continued to work and won an Academy Award in 2003 for directing the World War II drama “The Pianist.” His wife, actress Sharon Tate, was one of the murder victims of the Manson family.
“Here, (Polanski) was given the opportunity to present any evidence he deemed relevant to the board’s consideration of whether he should or should not remain a member of the Academy in light of his criminal conviction and fugitive status,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel wrote.
Polanski had the chance to submit a lengthy brief from his attorney and his own pre-recorded video statement, the judge said. The academy board also gave the director the opportunity to address the board live or by video, but the offer was turned down, she added.
Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, argued Polanski should be reinstated and given about 45 minutes to argue his side of the issues.
“He’s never denied his guilt,” Braun said. “He has no animus, he just wants to be treated honestly.”
Braun said the Academy wrongfully lumped the past conduct of Polanski and Cosby together.
Cosby is serving a sentence of three to 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University staffer in his Pennsylvania home in 2004. The comedian has been accused by about five dozen women of committing similar crimes.
“Let’s throw out Bill Cosby, by the way, let’s throw out Roman Polanski,” Braun said in describing the Academy’s decisions.
Braun said Polanski’s victim is now a grandmother and long ago forgave him. Braun said he doubted Polanski will appeal Tuesday’s ruling.
Academy attorney Kristen Bird praised the judge’s ruling and said if affirmed her belief that Polanski was given a fair chance to present his side of the issues.
Polanski, now 87, was admitted to the Academy in December 1968 with the help of a letter signed by the late Gregory Peck, Polanski’s court papers state.
“The board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” according to a statement from the Academy.