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The Academy’s 54-member board of governors — which includes such Hollywood luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg and Kathleen Kennedy — held an emergency meeting Saturday at the organization’s Beverly Hills headquarters and voted to strip away Weinstein’s lifetime membership.
Following the meeting, the Academy issued a statement saying the board had voted “to immediately expel him from the Academy. 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.”
The Academy went on to say, “What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society. The board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy member will be expected to exemplify.”
The Academy’s action — which comes in response to the dozens of allegations that have now surfaced accusing Weinstein of an ongoing pattern of predatory behavior in which he sexually harassed, assaulted and even raped women — is virtually unprecedented.
The Academy’s bylaws state that, with a two-thirds vote, the board of governors can eject a member “for cause.” In this case, the Academy said “well in excess of the two-thirds majority” voted to expel Weinstein.
Only one other member has ever been expelled in the 90-year history of the Academy: Carmine Caridi, an actor who was found to have violated the Academy’s policy against loaning awards-season screeners when films he had been sent turned up online.
In Weinstein’s case, the decision was all the more dramatic given how assiduously he had courted the Academy’s approval over the years. A past master of awards-season campaigning, Weinstein saw the two companies he ran during the course of his career, Miramax and The Weinstein Co. collect more than 300 Oscar nominations and score five best picture wins. Weinstein himself was personally called up to the stage in 1999 as a producer of Shakespeare in Love when it was named best picture.
Ahead of the meeting, some Academy members did express concerns that such an action would establish a precedent that would require the organization, which also includes such controversial figures as Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, to begin policing the behavior of its members. But amid the near-universal condemnation of Weinstein, the board moved ahead to reject him.
Now a Hollywood pariah, Weinstein is also facing expulsion from the Producers Guild of America, whose own board is meeting Monday to vote on his status in that organization. And earlier this week, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts suspended Weinstein from its ranks.
Following the announcement, accuser Rose McGowan told The Hollywood Reporter: “POLANSKI. COSBY.”