In a historic move, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) voted to expel Harvey Weinstein from the organization. This comes after allegations of rape and sexual predatory practices over the past three decades that finally came to the public’s attention this past week thanks to reporting in The New York Times, the New Yorker and the stories of notable industry figures afterward.
In a statement, AMPAS remarked:
“The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors met today to discuss the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and has voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority 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. 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 members will be expected to exemplify.”
Perhaps the most important part of the organization’s release is the line: “send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.” As the leading arts organization in the movie industry, it will be noteworthy to see what steps the Academy takes from this point on to ensure that is the case.
It should also be noted that a number of figures accused and prosecuted for rape including Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby are still members of the Academy. Whether these members will remain in AMPAS remains to be seen.
Weinstein built most of his brand off his Oscar success winning a statue in 1999 for producing “Shakespeare in Love” and earning a second nomination for “Gangs of New York” in 2003. At both Miramax and The Weinstein Company, he either executive produced or released Best Picture winners “The English Patient,” “Chicago,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.”