Hollywood’s most prestigious organisation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, expelled Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein on Saturday, after allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted several women over the past three decades.
The Academy said that its 54-member board of governors “voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority to immediately expel him from the Academy”, Reuters reported.
A representative for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, had no immediate comment.
Weinstein has been accused of sexually harassing and raping women associates and actors, who spoke to The New York Times and The New Yorker. After actors Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, several prominent women in Hollywood, including Angelina Jolie and Gywneth Paltrow, detailed alleged instances of sexual abuse by Weinstein.
The Academy said its governors voted to expel Weinstein “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 wilful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour 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. Its board of governors include director Steven Spielberg and actors Tom Hanks, Laura Dern and Whoopi Goldberg, among others.
Weinstein was a member of the executives’ branch of the academy. He is also a member of the Producers Guild of America, which has not said yet whether it has decided about his membership, the Reuters report said.
Expelling Weinstein is stunning, The New York Times reported, because the Academy has not taken such action before. No action was taken against Roman Polanski, who pleaded guilty in a sex crime case involving a 13-year-old girl, or when women accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts suspended Weinstein’s membership on Wednesday. Last week, the New York Police Department and London’s Metropolitan Police said they were investigating the allegations.