Academy Film Board Votes to Expel Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski’s Memberships
As evidenced by the mounting allegations of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood over the last several months, time is indeed up — though the reckoning has come more swiftly for some men than others. The latest update from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences proves as much, as the board has voted to revoke both Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski’s memberships from the Film branch.
Per Variety, the move was announced about a week after a Pennsylvania jury found Bill Cosby guilty on three counts of felony sexual assault for the drugging and rape of Andrea Constand. The television icon and comedian has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting over 60 women in allegations extending as far back as the ’70s. Constand was the only victim capable of pursuing legal action; the statute of limitations regarding rape allegations prevented many of her fellow accusers from formally filing charges, though a handful of those women were called to testify in support of Constand.
In addition to his expulsion from the Film Academy, Cosby was recently expelled from the TV Academy, as well. Although it took several decades for justice to be served in Cosby’s case, the professional ramifications have been relatively swift — if largely symbolic.
Like Cosby, Roman Polanski was also convicted of sexual assault with the use of drugs. However, the Polish filmmaker avoided sentencing for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1978 by fleeing the country. In 1977, the director was arrested and charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. Polanski has thus far avoided imprisonment for 40 years by remaining in countries (such as France) that will not extradite him back to the United States.
Despite Cosby and Polanski’s contributions to pop culture and the arts, it’s fair to say that their expulsion from the Film Academy is too little, too late — particularly as they were both expelled based on the Academy’s Standards of Conduct. The Academy previously revoked Harvey Weinstein’s membership last fall in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual assault and abuse. Kevin Spacey, meanwhile, has not had his membership revoked following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.
Here’s the official statement from AMPAS regarding Cosby and Polanski:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors met on Tuesday night (May 1) and has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct. The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.