In a virtually unprecedented move, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was on Saturday revoked by its board.
The decision was reached in an emergency session by the academy, the world’s top movie organization and home to the Oscars.
The expulsion was effective immediately.
It comes after recent reports by the New York Times and The New Yorker about sexual harassment and rape allegations against Weinstein going back decades.
He has denied the accusations against him.
In issuing its decision, the academy 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.”
“What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society,” it added.
The statement said the decision was reached by “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority” of the 54-member academy board.
Only one person is thought to have been previously expelled from the academy: Carmine Caridi, a character actor who had his membership revoked in 2004 for lending DVD screeners of films in contention for Oscars that ended up online.
The academy’s swift and severe ruling against Weinstein might raise questions about other academy members who remain in good standing.
These include Roman Polanski, an Oscar winner who in the 1970s pleaded guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl, and entertainer Bill Cosby, who has faced dozens of allegations of sexual assault.
Weinstein, himself an Oscar winner as a producer of the 1998 Best Picture Shakespeare in Love, was ousted a week ago from the Weinstein Company, the movie and TV production company he cofounded with his brother, Bob, and which now is struggling to survive the scandal.
In an interview published Saturday by The Hollywood Reporter, Bob Weinstein called for his “sick and depraved” brother to be kicked out of the academy.
Speaking more broadly, Bob Weinstein added: “I want him to get the justice that he deserves.”
On Wednesday, Harvey Weinstein’s membership in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts was revoked.
In a related development, British actress Lysette Anthony said she has told police that Weinstein raped her in London in the 1980s.
It was reported last week that London police were investigating a rape allegation against the producer relating to an incident in the 1980s.
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