UPDATE: The Academy announced Saturday that they would “immediately expel” Harvey Weinstein, adding that a vote by the 54-member board of governors was “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority,” The New York Times reported. The move is a break in tradition for the Academy, which didn’t take similar action in the aftermath of scandals involving Academy members like Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby.
“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 said in a statement. “What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences labeled the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein “repugnant” and called for an emergency meeting with its board of governors on October 14th to address the scandal surrounding the film executive and producer.
“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,” the Academy wrote, per The Hollywood Reporter. “The Board of Governors will be holding a special meeting on Saturday, October 14th, to discuss the allegations against Weinstein and any actions warranted by the Academy.”
Weinstein, an Academy member for over two decades, has long wielded major influence over the film industry as the co-founder of two massively successful companies – Miramax and The Weinstein Company – earning Best Picture Oscar awards for The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago, The King’s Speech and The Artist.
But Weinstein’s reputation permanently changed last Thursday after The New York Times published a damning exposé detailing the Hollywood mogul’s alleged, decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct towards women within and connected to the film industry. The Cut reported that 31 women have come forward with their experiences thus far – including major stars like Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. On Tuesday, The New Yorker published their own article on Weinstein, alleging multiple accounts of sexual assault, among other accusations.
Weinstein faced a firm backlash after the Times revelations: He was fired from The Weinstein Company, with four board member directors resigning. Despite the Academy’s stern statement, the organization hasn’t formally dismissed Weinstein from their 8,427-member ranks – though they did suggest the potential to pursue “other actions.”
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Weinstein’s behavior may not violate a specific Academy rule. The 90-year-old organization, which mostly regulates Oscar campaigning, has only previously expelled one person: The Godfather actor Carmine Caridi, who, in January 2014, was caught violating their strict screener policy after copies of films he was sent wound up on the Internet.