Academy Takes Steps to Implement Conduct Standards for Members
The organization that puts on the Oscars has detailed concrete steps to handling widespread issues of sexual misconduct within the industry—issues that prompted the academy to ban Harvey Weinstein and could lead to further actions in the coming months.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), responding to a scandal-heavy awards season that has shaken the film industry to its very core, is getting tough on bad behavior.
The organization behind the Oscars, which handed disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein a lifetime ban in October and has seen numerous other Oscar winners, nominees, and Academy members accused of sexual harassment or assault in the past few months, announced over the weekend detailed code of conduct procedures intended to encourage a high ethical standard among its members.
The code of conduct, the plans for which were first announced in December, will create an official review process for allegations against members, including how the Academy will review such actions internally, criteria for substantiating such claims, and how AMPAS will decide whether an action should be taken against the member.
“The Academy’s goal is not to be an investigative body, but rather ensure that when a grievance is made, it will go through a fair and methodical process,” AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote in a letter to membership reprinted by Variety. “This process will determine whether a claim will be brought to the Board for possible action regarding membership status.”
Hudson added, “This is a difficult time and a challenging process that will not be solved overnight.”
The code of conduct, which can be read here [PDF], will help the Academy, which had previously only given a lifetime ban to one other person, move forward as it attempts to decide how it should handle other prominent members who have faced scrutiny for their behavior in recent months, such as actor Kevin Spacey and director Roman Polanski. Additionally, it sets the stage for how AMPAS should handle issues that arise in the future.
The outcry against Weinstein, who cofounded the Miramax and Weinstein Company film studios and stands accused of a widespread abuse of power within the industry over the span of multiple decades, helped set off a social movement over the past few months. Earlier this month, this movement led to the creation of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which aims to fight systemic sexual harassment inside and outside of Hollywood.
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