Motion Picture Academy Ousts Harvey Weinstein, Opening Door To Revisiting Polanski's Free Ride

 Harvey Weinstein at the 2014 Oscars in Los Angeles. CreditJordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press

Harvey Weinstein at the 2014 Oscars in Los Angeles. CreditJordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press

the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences voted overwhelmingly to "immediately expel" Harvey Weinstein in an emergency meeting on Saturday. The decision broke 90 years of precedent, with the 54-member board of governors ousting one of the biggest Oscar layers in history over investigations by The New York Times and The New Yorkers that revealed countless sexual harassment and rape allegations against Weinstein going back decades. 

Women including Whoopi Goldberg, Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and documentarian rory Kennedy comprise about 40 percent of the Academy members.

The academy said the vote was “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority.”

It added, “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 academy said it would “work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all academy members will be expected to exemplify," writes New New York Times. 

The Academy has taken no action against Bill Cosby, accused of over 50 sexual assault cases, or academy members like Roman Polanski, who pleaded guilty to a sex crime involving a 13-year-old girl. 

Describing the two and a half hour meeting, with some members attending via remote, word was that the discussion was not heated. “Everyone seemed aligned,” one board member said anonymously. 

The Producers Guild of America was also scheduled to meet on Saturday to discuss revoking Mr. Weinstein’s membership. Late Friday, the group abruptly moved the special meeting to Monday. Under that group’s bylaws, Mr. Weinstein will have two weeks to respond to any action. The same guild gave the Weinstein brothers its Milestone award in 2013, citing their “historic contributions to the entertainment industry.”

The French government said that it is following legal events against Mr. Weinstein, and may revoke his Legion of Honor award, the country's highest civilian distinction given to Weinstein in 2012.