Motion Picture Academy Expels Harvey Weinstein

AMPAS Board of Governors sets new precedent by kicking out Weinstein for actions not related to his Academy membership

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled Harvey Weinstein in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment and rape.

The decision was made by the Academy Board of Governors, which held a special meeting on Saturday morning to consider the disgraced mogul’s future in the organization.

The vote to expel Weinstein was “well in excess” of the required two-thirds majority from the 54-member board, according to an Academy statement.

Weinstein was stripped of his membership, the statement added, “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.”

Although as a matter of policy the Academy does not publicly reveal disciplinary actions against members in most cases, this is believed to be the first expulsion for activity not directly related to AMPAS membership.

Actor Carmine Caridi was expelled from the organization in 2004 for screener piracy, and other members have been kicked out for selling their Oscar tickets.

While the Weinstein decision sets a precedent that may well have been uncomfortable to some members of the board, the Academy was under enormous pressure to act against the mogul whose actions, detailed in New York Times and New Yorker stories, have drawn universal condemnation.

The Academy statement suggested that the organization was now comfortable with moving into a realm of ethics oversight that it previously avoided. “The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify,” read its final sentence.

A change.org petition calling for Weinstein’s ouster had drawn more than 135,000 signatures as of Saturday morning, while the president of CBS Films, Terry Press, threatened to resign from AMPAS if it didn’t expel Weinstein.

Academy bylaws allow the board to expel or suspend members “for cause” with a two-thirds vote.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) suspended Weinstein’s membership on Wednesday. The Producers Guild of America called its own Saturday board meeting to discuss Weinstein’s future in that organization, but then delayed the meeting until Monday.

Weinstein has been a longtime member of the Academy, and received Oscar nominations as a producer of Best Picture nominees “Gangs of New York” and “Shakespeare in Love.” He won an Oscar for the latter film.

He also revolutionized Oscar campaigning in the 1990s and 2000s with a more aggressive and expensive style of campaigning that often pushed against the edge of Academy campaign regulations. In addition to “Shakespeare in Love,” his Oscar-winning films over the years, both at Miramax and at the Weinstein Company, included “My Left Foot,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Chicago,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.”

The Academy statement:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors met today to discuss the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and has voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority to immediately expel him from the Academy. 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 Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify.