On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors will hold a special meeting to consider one issue: Should Harvey Weinstein lose his AMPAS membership in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment and abuse?
Already, more than 100,000 people have signed a change.org petition calling for Weinstein’s expulsion, but the decision will be made solely by the 54 members of the Academy board. They alone have the authority to expel or suspend members, which they can do “for cause.”
The process is spelled out in Article 10, Section 3 of the Academy bylaws:
“Any member of the Academy may be suspended or expelled for cause by the Board of Governors. Expulsion or suspension as herein provided for shall require the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all the Governors. No Governor, nor the Academy, nor any member thereof, shall be liable to any member or former member by reason of any action taken hereunder. The procedure for hearing or investigation shall be as determined by the Board of Governors.”
If every member of the board attends the meeting on Saturday, the requirement for a two-thirds majority would mean that 36 of them will have to vote to suspend or revoke Weinstein’s membership.
In doing so, they would be setting a new precedent at an organization that has never before expelled a member for actions unrelated to the Academy itself.
Actors Branch member Carmine Caridi was expelled in 2004 after DVD screeners sent to him were pirated. Other members have been expelled for selling their tickets to the Oscar ceremony, though their names have not been made public.
The pressure on the board to take a stand against Weinstein will be enormous, and a unanimous vote in favor of expulsion would not come as a surprise. (The last time the board faced pressure to make a big change, it voted unanimously for a series of drastic steps to increase membership diversity in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in early 2016.)
Weinstein has already been fired from his position at the Weinstein Company, which he and his brother founded, and suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which announced its decision on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, the Academy announced that it would consider action against Weinstein at the Saturday meeting, and said in a statement, “The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents.”
The Academy meeting will come on the same day as another at the Producers Guild of America, which will also consider Weinstein’s future in that organization.
It will take place on a top floor of the Academy building in Beverly Hills at the same time that the Academy is holding its annual Careers in Film Summit in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater downstairs. The day-long event will consist of a number of panels at which Academy members and film professionals will discuss various aspects of filmmaking.
Weinstein has attended nearly every Academy Awards show for decades, and won an Oscar as one of the producers of 1998 Best Picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.” He was also nominated for producing “Gangs of New York.”