The Academy’s 54-member board of governors – which includes such Hollywood luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg and Kathleen Kennedy – held an emergency meeting at the organization’s Beverly Hills headquarters today and voted to strip away Weinstein’s lifetime membership.
In a statement they said, “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.”
The Academy’s action, which comes in response to the dozens of allegations that have now surfaced accusing Weinstein of an ongoing pattern of predatory behavior in which he sexually harassed, assaulted and even raped women, is virtually unprecedented.
Only one other member has ever been expelled in the 90-year history of the Academy: Carmine Caridi, an actor who was found to have violated the Academy’s policy against loaning awards season screeners when films he had been sent turned up online.
Ahead of the meeting, some Academy members did express concerns that such an action would establish a precedent that would require the organization, which also includes such controversial figures as Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, to begin policing the behavior of its members.