Yesterday came the news that filmmaker Roman Polanski, along with Bill Cosby, was voted out of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) by the organization’s Board of Governors.
The move from the group which hands out the Oscars comes after Cosby was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault the other day. Polanski’s expulsion, however, was in response to the decades-long court case over the filmmaker being arrested and charged with raping a 13-year-old girl.
After AMPAS ejected Harvey Weinstein months ago, it was thought to be only a matter of time before some of its other members might also be ejected including Polanski. The timing of the announcement though has surprised people, including Polanski himself whose attorney Harland Braun tells The Wrap:
“We plan to ask the Academy to follow its own rules which is to give Roman ten days notice to present his side. We were prepared but were blindsided by their violation of their own standards. What did the 56 members review??”
There has been no real news, investigation or advancement in the case over Polanski in many years, and the Oscars have had little issue with his case before – handing him a Best Director Oscar in 2002 for “The Pianist”.
What has changed of course is the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements as Hollywood has begun very publicly clearing house of it sexual predators and has given their victim’s a voice. In this case though, the victim herself, Samantha Geimer, has spoken with Vanity Fair about the ruling and has in fact slammed the Academy for its decision:
“It is an ugly and cruel action which serves only appearance. It does nothing to change the sexist culture in Hollywood today and simply proves that they will eat their own to survive. I say to Roman, good riddance to bad rubbish, the Academy has no true honor, it’s all just P.R… They could at least expel him on his own, but to tag him onto Cosby, what a bunch of douchebags.”
Polanski has made twelve films in the time since his fleeing the United States over forty years ago including the likes of “Frantic,” “Bitter Moon,” “The Ninth Gate,” “Carnage,” “The Ghost Writer,” “Venus in Fur,” “Pirates,” “Death and the Maiden,” “Tess” and “Oliver Twist”. His most recent film was “Based on a True Story” last year.