It seems that there is one club that isn’t taking Harvey Weinstein back, even as he declares that he’s going to fight for his job. According to The New York Times, Weinstein has been voted off of the board for Motion Picture Academy, thus making him unable to vote in the upcoming Oscar season.
Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, is currently off the board of his own company after some major stories broke over the last week or so.
In a statement, the academy said the vote was “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority.” It added, “We do so 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 willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior 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 it would “work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all academy members will be expected to exemplify.”
The problem with all of that, as the Times would also point out, that while this is a big deal, it’s a huge example of “too little, too late.”
Although largely symbolic, the ouster of Mr. Weinstein from the roughly 8,400-member academy is stunning because the organization is not known to have taken such action before — not when Roman Polanski, a member, pleaded guilty in a sex crime case involving a 13-year-old girl; not when women came forward to accuse Bill Cosby, a member, of sexual assault; and not when Mel Gibson allegedly went on anti-Semitic tirade during a drunk driving arrest in 2006 or pleaded no contest to a charge of battery against an old girlfriend in 2011.
The Academy is now going to face a lot more pressure to deal with some of the other serial abusers in their midst. And why is the Weinstein situation seemingly the final straw? Many other similar cases over the years might have occurred before social media outrage could truly sink an entire career — but even then, Stephen Collins, the 7th Heaven actor who admitted in 2014 that he’d molested teenage girls in the past, didn’t get his membership revoked. In fact, the other person who has been revoked of their membership is Carmine Caridi, who was kicked out for sharing screener DVDs that ended up online.
While kicking Weinstein out is a good thing, the Academy is going to have to face a lot of tough questions about where the line is. There is a precedent now, and there’s no going back from that. The core of Hollywood is rotten, and to fix it, we need to cut away the dead parts. Whether this one outing is the first step remains to be seen.
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