The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting Saturday to discuss the sexual harassment and assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, a 20-year member of the organization behind the Oscars.
“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,” according to a statement released by the Academy. “The Board of Governors will hold a special meeting on Saturday, October 14, to discuss the allegations against Weinstein and any actions warranted by the Academy.”
The organization did not elaborate on what actions might be considered.
Weinstein has been accused over the past week of sexual harassment by a number of actresses. Some allege he appeared naked in front of them, asked them for naked massages or otherwise propositioned them while discussing possible film roles. At least four women, most recently actress Rose McGowan, have accused him of sexual assault.
Weinstein won an Oscar in 1999 as a producer of best-picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.” His companies have also been distributors of Oscar winners “The Artist,” “Chicago,” “The King’s Speech” and “The English Patient.”
The Academy has more than 8,400 members and it has only expelled one member in its 90-year history, “The Godfather” actor Carmine Caridi, who was punished in 2004 after screener copies of movies that were sent to him turned up online.
Some pundits have questioned whether The Academy will expel Weinstein, noting that the organization’s membership still includes director Roman Polanski, who is considered a fugitive in Los Angeles for having unlawful sexual contact with a minor in the 1970s, and comedian Bill Cosby, who has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting dozens of women.
A petition on www.Change.org calling on the Academy to expel Weinstein had more than 100,000 signatures as of Friday.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, or BAFTA, announced Wednesday it has suspended Weinstein’s membership.
“Whilst BAFTA has previously been a beneficiary of Mr. Weinstein’s support for its charitable work, it considers the reported alleged behavior completely unacceptable and incompatible with BAFTA’s values,” according to the organization. “This has led to Mr. Weinstein’s suspension, and it will be followed by a formal process as laid out in BAFTA’s constitution.
We hope this announcement sends a clear message that such behavior has absolutely no place in our industry. BAFTA will continue to work with the film, games and television industries to improve access to rewarding and fulfilling careers in safe, professional working environments.”
The board of the Producers Guild of America also planned to meet Saturday to consider expelling Weinstein, but has postponed the session until Monday.
—City News Service