As Hollywood and the world at large continues to clean house on abusive men in the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein’s fall and the revival of the #MeToo movement, it still seemed like there were untouchable beacons few of us could hope to topple. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body behind the Oscars, was easily one of them. Sure, they expelled Weinstein from their ranks - making him only the second member in history to be kicked out - but this is the group that gave Roman Polanski a Best Director award some 30 odd years after he fled the country on charges of drugging and raping a teenage girl. This is the group that still likes Woody Allen. This is the group that consistently bent to the will of Weinstein, and there’s no way those in the upper echelons of power didn’t know of some of the crap he was pulling.
Still, the Academy has been in a period of flux following #OscarsSoWhite, with further scrutiny brought upon its business and actions and how they impact the industry. Changes were made to fix those errors, and now it seems they’re ready to do the same regarding allegations of misconduct. The Academy CEO Dawn Hudson announced that they had approved standards of conduct for their members.
Academy just sent a note to members saying its board approved the attached code of conduct. Allegations of noncompliance will be handled through a process that will not be unveiled/determined until next year. Process will “guide” Academy on whether allegations “warrant action” pic.twitter.com/3zxrJvfwC6— Brooks Barnes (@brooksbarnesNYT) December 7, 2017
‘Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers. In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. There is no place in the academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognised standards of decency.’
Anyone who violates the standards or compromises “the integrity of the Academy by their actions” could be suspended or expelled.
This is a major move on their part, and will undoubtedly be a difficult one to implement, but it’s a positive step forward that will reassure many that yes, change is possible. And spare me your ‘concerns’ over ‘witch hunts’ and the like: It’s not a right for anyone to get membership to a prestigious group that allows them free screeners, Oscar voting privileges and occasionally good parking. This will also cast an interesting shadow over the coming awards season. Anyone checked on Casey Affleck recently?