John Bailey will remain in his post as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following an internal investigation that cleared him of sexual harassment allegations.
The Academy released a statement on Tuesday, saying: “The committee unanimously determined that no further action was merited on this matter. The findings and recommendations of the committee were reported to the board, which endorsed its recommendation. John Bailey remains president of the Academy.”
Allegations against the 75-year-old were reported earlier this month, following his election as president of the US film association last August. Contrary to reports that three complaints were made, a single case was investigated by the Academy’s internal committee, “consulting with outside counsel with expertise in matters related to harassment”.
Under the Academy’s confidentiality rules, details of the charges were not made public, but according to media reports, one woman alleged inappropriate touching by Bailey in a transport van on a film set a decade ago. “That did not happen,” Bailey asserted in a letter to Academy staff. He said the media reports were “false” and “have served only to tarnish my 50-year career”.
The incident is the first test for the Academy’s new conduct policy, which was revised last December in the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct levelled against Hollywood figures, in particular the producer Harvey Weinstein, who was expelled from the Academy last October.
Bailey is the first cinematographer to become Academy president, having served as governor of its cinematographers’ branch for a decade. His credits include Groundhog Day, The Big Chill and American Gigolo. Bailey’s predecessor, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, presided over the Academy’s ambitious move to increase the diversity of its members in the wake of criticism that it was dominated by older, white males. At this year’s Oscars, which were marked by statements in support of diversity, gender equality and the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, Bailey declined make the customary address, saying that “the president’s address often stops the show”.
In his letter, Bailey wrote: “While there have been well documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them. I care deeply about women’s issues and support equal treatment and access for all individuals working in this profession.”
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