Academy President John Bailey Investigated Over Sexual Harassment Claims

Three separate claims were leveled against the exec, who was elected to lead the organization last August.
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John Bailey

John Bailey, who became the 34th president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Aug. 8, is under investigation by the organization following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

An Academy subcommittee led by David Rubin began reviewing the allegations on Wednesday after receiving three separate claims of harassment, sources close to the situation tell The Hollywood Reporter. Bailey did not respond to a direct request for comment. 

The Academy, later on Friday, issued the following statement: "The Academy treats any complaints confidentially to protect all parties. The Membership Committee reviews all complaints brought against Academy members according to our Standards of Conduct process, and after completing reviews, reports to the Board of Governors. We will not comment further on such matters until the full review is completed."

Bailey, a veteran cinematographer who succeeded Cheryl Boone Isaacs as president, has represented the cinematographers branch of the Academy for 15 years. His film credits include Ordinary People, American Gigolo, The Big Chill and Groundhog Day. In 2014, Bailey received the American Society of Cinematographers' Lifetime Achievement Award.

In October, in the wake of the media reports about serial sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that sparked the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, the Academy expelled Weinstein and Bailey emailed its members to say that the Academy would henceforth investigate reports of similar misbehavior. He said that organization would not serve as an "inquisitorial court," but would support the "vulnerable."

In January, the Academy adopted a new code of conduct governing workplace harassment and misconduct. Under these guidelines, claims can be submitted through a link on the Academy website or by calling the Academy's membership department. The code states that claims must include supporting evidence, which can be a second witness, a second party who was told of the violation, a written report or evidence that the claim is part of an established pattern.

In a letter to members at the time, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson explained, “The Academy’s goal is not to be an an investigative body, but rather ensure that when a grievance is made, it will go through a fair and methodical process. This process will determine whether a claim will be brought to the board for possible action regarding membership status.”

At the 90th Oscars ceremony on March 4, Bailey declined to make the traditional onstage appearance by a president, telling THR, "The president's address often stops the show." Even without such an interruption, the broadcast attracted the lowest ratings of any in history, with 26.5 million viewers. 

The #MeToo and Time's Up movements that began with the exposure of Weinstein have since ensnared many other high-profile industry figures, including Kevin Spacey, Roy Price, Louis C.K. and James Toback, among others.

Variety first reported the investigation.

March 16, 1:40 p.m. Updated to include Academy's statement.