The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued a new "code of conduct" for members, compiled with "ethics experts" at some of the nation's most prestigious colleges, in the hopes that a few rules and regulations will keep its many members from, well, showing their "members" to friends and colleagues.
According to the Academy, which hosts the yearly Oscars awards ceremony, a new "task force" is in place to handle claims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse against members, and make determinations on what behavior is acceptable for Academy members and what's not.
Most Americans, staring inward at Hollywood, are probably shocked by the idea that a major deliberative body within the entertainment industry has to hire out experts, at no small cost, to tell them to instruct their members not to whip out their private parts in polite company (or, failing that, at least ask first), sexually assault their coworkers, demand sex in return for film roles, and trap unsuspecting women in hotel rooms.
But, apparently, the Academy feels the need to outline it.
Part of the issue may be that the Academy needs to legally protect itself. They've booted Harvey Weinstein over his dozens of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape allegations, but have yet to take action on others, like Kevin Spacey, director James Toback, and director/producer Bryan Singer. By having some measure of ethical standard for membership, they can't be held liable if one of their members breaks it and faces punishment.
But the "moral code" may present more problems than it solves. The Academy is notoriously inconsistent in punishing its membership. Weinstein is out, sure, but the same body has routinely not only accepted, but honored Roman Polanksi. Many of the Academy's most prominent members have been outspoken on Polanski's behalf, begging the LAPD and the LA County Prosecutor to allow the filmmaker to return to the United States, having never served an appropriate sentence for raping a 13-year-old girl.