Roman Polanski Sues to Get Back Into Film Academy

The 'Rosemary's Baby' director was expelled last year, along with Bill Cosby.
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Roman Polanski

Nearly a year after being kicked out of the Film Academy, Roman Polanski is suing to get back in. 

Polanski in May 2018 was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with Bill Cosby, as a result of the group's standards of conduct that were enacted after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. 

The Rosemary's Baby director fled the country after being convicted of sexually assaulting a teen girl in the 1970s. Polanski claims he left because the judge who was handling his case decades ago promised him he would only serve 90 days of psychiatric evaluation, but instead was going to sentence him to 50 years in prison.

Polanski's attorney Harland Braun on Friday filed a petition for writ of administrative mandamus, asking a Los Angeles judge to force the Academy to reinstate him as a member in good standing. 

Braun argues that although the Academy let Polanski petition for reconsideration, it failed to give him an opportunity to be heard on the matter, which he contends is a violation of its policies.

"The Academy committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion in that the Academy failed to proceed in a manner required by law, the Academy's expulsion decision is not supported by the findings, and the Academy's findings are not supported by the evidence," writes Braun.

The filing notes that Polanski's films have been nominated for 28 Academy Awards, and the director personally has been nominated for six. (Despite his expulsion, Polanski gets to keep his 2003 best director Oscar for The Pianist.) 

Attached to the filing is the December 1968 letter sent to Polanski (by then-president Gregory Peck) informing him that he was being invited to join the directors branch, and the May 2018 letter informing him that he'd been voted out. 

In response to the lawsuit, an Academy spokesperson stated, "The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate."