In order to save face amidst the bombshell Harvey Weinstein sex scandal, where the movie mogul is alleged to have engaged in habitual sexual harassment of young women for decades, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will convene this weekend to decide whether or not to kick him out as a member. Never mind the fact that Roman Polanski — a convicted sex offender — remains a member.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy’s board of governors will be holding a meeting this weekend to “discuss the allegations against Weinstein and any actions warranted by the Academy.”
“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 organization said in a statement.
The announcement comes just after The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) voted on Wednesday to suspend Weinstein’s membership. Having been fired from his own company, the disgraced movie mogul now has become a Hollywood pariah in a matter of days.
As noted by Variety, the Academy’s potential vote to remove Weinstein wreaks of hypocrisy, considering that both Bill Cosby (an alleged sex offender) and Roman Polanski (a convicted one) enjoy membership.
“At the same time, this is an organization that still counts Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski among its ranks,” reports Variety. “And the Academy has never really looked at any one member’s moral or criminal history. So if the banishment string is pulled, there will be others left dangling.”
Roman Polanski even won an Oscar for 2002’s The Pianist, which earned him a standing ovation from one Meryl Streep, who claims to have had no knowledge of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual exploits despite working with him for years.
If the Academy clearly cares little for their members’ criminal records, then why vote on Weinstein? He made too many enemies and angered too many people throughout the many years of running aggressive Oscar campaigns that bent the rules beyond the norm. From Variety again:
If you consider his campaign tactics, Weinstein has been a thorn in the Academy’s side for decades. “I would credit the whole existence of campaign regulations, in large part, to stuff he was initiating,” one insider says. “They were definitely responding to things he was doing.”
In fact, Weinstein’s Oscar for “Shakespeare” precipitated one rule shift nearly two decades ago. Five winning producers ascended the stairs of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage — too many, in the Academy’s view. So a rule (later loosened) that only three producers could be named on the best picture ballot was put into place. Many at the time also felt Weinstein was not a true producer of the film and had simply slapped his name on it in order to reap the Oscar.
In sum, the Academy tolerated this creep of a bully who ran the business like a mafia kingpin and they might now use this as an opportunity to banish him from their midst.