The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the organisation that runs, among other things, the annual Oscars) has expelled actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its ranks. This decision was the result of a vote by Academy board members on 3 May, when it was determined that the two Hollywood legends had acted against the Academy’s code of conduct.
Bill Cosby was found guilty by a jury on 26 April for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman nearly 14 years ago (although there have been numerous allegations against him over the last few years).
Roman Polanski has been a highly controversial figure for even longer. In 1978, he fled the United States after he was charged with statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot. Unbelievably, he won the 2003 Oscar for Best Director for his film The Pianist, despite being a fugitive from the US.
Harvey Weinstein was the most recent high-profile figure to be expelled from the Academy. In October 2017, following an overwhelming number of allegations of sexual harassment and rape against him, the board made the decision to oust him. Some of Hollywood’s highest profile figures came forward to speak up about Harvey, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.
Another prominent organisation has expelled Bill Cosby, according to CNN. The American Advertising Federation voted to rescind his induction into the Advertising Hall of Fame, the very first person to receive this treatment in the organisation’s 69 years.
In the 91-year existence of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, only four people have been expelled. In 2004, actor Carmine Caridi (from The Godfather films) became the first person to be expelled after the board found him guilty of sharing copyrighted material that was uploaded on the internet. Hopefully, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, more convictions and expulsions will follow soon, as Hollywood has a long and dark history of controversial figures abusing their power.