Comedian Bill Cosby and filmmaker Roman Polanksi were expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that hands out the Oscars, on Thursday. The move came a week after Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.
The Academy Board of Governors decided to expel the two during its meeting on May 1. They cited the new procedure for the Standards of Conduct implemented after the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors met on Tuesday night (May 1) and has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct," the Academy's statement read. "The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity."
Polanksi will be allowed to keep the Best Director Oscar he won for 2003's Holocaust drama The Pianist. He was not able to pick up the award in person because he has been on the run from U.S. authorities since 1978. That year, he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, but fled before sentencing.
“It sets a very poor example,” Polanksi's attorney, Harland Braun, told Variety of the Academy's decision. “It seems to be wrong to just expel someone and make a decision without knowing all the facts.”
Braun noted that Polankski has apologized, and the woman, Samantha Geimer, has accepted the apology.
As for Cosby, he was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in Pennsylvania last week. Constand is one of over 60 women who have accused the Cosby Show star of sexual assault and harassment. He could be sentenced to 10 years in prison on each count.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cosby has also been erased from the list of Television Academy Hall of Fame honorees list. Yale University and Temple University have also rescinded Cosby's honorary degrees. He was not honored by the Oscars, but appeared in several films during the 1970s.1comments
Cosby's wife, Camille, issued a statement Thursday, accusing Constand of lying and calling the conviction "mob justice."
After Weinstein was expelled from the Academy in October, it instituted a new code of conduct in January. It allows the Membership and Administration Committee to receive complaints and allows an accused member 10 days to respond. After that, the committee can recommend discipline and the accused member gets 10 days to appeal.