Harvey Weinstein expelled from Academy of Motion Pictures

Reuters
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled producer Harvey Weinstein on Saturday, after allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women.
Reuters
AFP

This combination of pictures created on October 13, 2017 shows US producer Harvey Weinstein (L) taken on March 10, 2015; (1st row from L) US actress Rose McGowan taken on April 3, 2016, US actress Angelina Jolie taken on September 13, 2017 in New York City, Italian actress Asia Argento taken on May 17, 2017, US actress Gwyneth Paltrow taken on May 6, 2017, US actress Ashley Judd taken on July 25, 2017, (2nd row fromL) French actress Lea Seydoux taken on May 19, 2016, US actress Mira Sorvino taken on December 7, 2015, US actress Rosanna Arquette taken on February 25, 2017, US actress Louisette Geiss taken on October 10, 2017, British actress Kate Beckinsale taken on on August 7, 2017, (3rd row fromL) Television reporter Lauren Sivan taken on July 26, 2014, US actress Jessica Barth taken on June 21, 2012, US producer Elizabeth Karlsen taken on January 4, 2016, French actress Emma De Caunes taken on October 17, 2016, and French actress Judith Godreche taken on October 19, 2015. An avalanche of claims of sexual harassment, assault and rape by hugely influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have surfaced since the publication last week of an explosive New York Times report alleging a history of abusive behavior dating back decades.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled producer Harvey Weinstein on Saturday, after allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over the past three decades, a sharp smack for a Hollywood mogul known for powering a string of films to Oscar gold.

The academy said in a statement that its 54-member board of governors "voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority to immediately expel him from the Academy."

A representative for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, had no immediate comment.

The expulsion from the film industry's most prestigious organization follows allegations reported by The New York Times and The New Yorker from a number of women that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them in incidents dating back to the 1980s, including three who said they had been raped.

Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the allegations. Weinstein, 65, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

For Weinstein, who made a name for himself and his studio with the critical and commercial success of a number of small-budget independent films, the expulsion was just the latest fallout — both professional and personal — from allegations that have rocked an industry that has often looked the other way when confronted by reports of sexual misconduct.

In announcing the decision to oust Weinstein, the academy said it was also telegraphing a broader goal.

"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," the academy said.

"What's at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society," it said. "The board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify."

The New York Police Department said this week it was investigating an allegation of sexual assault from 2004 against Weinstein.

His accusers included the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who told The New York Times that she was sexually harassed by Weinstein more than 20 years ago, and actress and director Angelina Jolie, who told the publication that she "had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth and as a result chose never to work with him again."

Brother advocated expulsion

The academy's board gathered on Saturday to discuss the allegations against Weinstein and his inclusion in the organization, which comprises 8,000 people from the film industry and invites members to join based on their contributions to film. Governors include such luminaries as director Steven Spielberg and actors Tom Hanks, Laura Dern and Whoopi Goldberg.

Weinstein is a member of the executives' branch of the academy and is also a member of the Producers Guild of America. The PGA board is to meet on Monday to discuss whether to begin displinary proceedings against Weinstein, who would have 15 days to respond to any decision by the board, including an expulsion.

While Weinstein has driven numerous films to success at the Academy Awards over two decades, he has only won one Oscar himself, for producing best picture winner "Shakespeare in Love" in 1999.

The fallout from the allegations has been swift for Weinstein. He was fired at the beginning of this week from The Weinstein Co, the independent studio he co-founded in 2005 with his brother Bob Weinstein.

A spokesman for The Weinstein Co, in an email, cited Bob Weinstein's interview published on Saturday with The Hollywood Reporter, in which he said the academy should expel his brother. Bob Weinstein said he was aware of his brother's marital infidelities, but said he had no idea about "the type of predator that he was," according to the industry publication.

Hachette Book Group, the U.S. publishing house of French group Lagardere, terminated the Weinstein Books imprint on Thursday. People magazine reported on Tuesday that Weinstein's wife, Marchesa label fashion designer Georgina Chapman, was leaving him.

France has started the process of stripping Weinstein of his Legion of Honor, France's highest civilian distinction, President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Saturday.

Also this week, Weinstein was suspended from the British film academy BAFTA.

Special Reports
Top