This article titled “Stars welcome Academy move to expel Weinstein over sexual assault claims” was written by Jamiles Lartey and Edward Helmore in New York, and David Batty in London, for theguardian.com on Sunday 15th October 2017 09.06 UTC
Hollywood stars have welcomed the expulsion of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In an unprecedented move after a special meeting held in Los Angeles on Saturday morning, the Academy board 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. The board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify.”
Among those who supported the decision was actor Mia Farrow, whose son Ronan write a New Yorker article in which three women alleged Weinstein raped them. She tweeted: “Proud of TheAcademy! Harvey Weinstein is out.”
Emmy Rossum, the star of Shameless, wrote “Amen, the academy!!!” while Hellboy actor Ron Perlman tweeted: “As a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences I am proud of their decision to expel Harvey Weinstein.”
Weinstein, 65, faces allegations of sexual misconduct from more than two dozen women and three of rape. He has apologized for having “caused a lot of pain” but has forcefully denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. It is believed he is currently in Arizona, receiving “treatment” related to his behavior.
In its 90-year history, the Academy has expelled only one other member, and only because 83-year-old Carmine Caridi, an actor, violated specific written rules about sharing screener copies of films in 2004. No member has been expelled for unethical or potentially criminal behavior, including figures such as Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Mel Gibson, who have had high-profile sexual or domestic assault allegations made against them.
The academy’s 54-member board of governors needed a two-thirds vote to trigger an expulsion, according to its bylaws. It voted “well in excess” of that requirement, according to the Academy statement.
The Academy’s UK counterpart, Bafta, suspended Weinstein on Wednesday morning, calling his alleged behavior “completely unacceptable and incompatible with Bafta’s values”.
In an emotional interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Saturday, even Weinstein’s own brother advocated his suspension. “I have a brother that’s indefensible and crazy,” said Bob Weinstein, 62 and an executive at The Weinstein Company (TWC). “I find myself in a waking nightmare. My brother has caused unconscionable suffering. As a father of three girls I say this with every bone in my body – I am heartbroken for the women that he has harmed.”
Prior to the decision others were less sure, arguing that pushing Weinstein out might set a difficult precedent.
“For the Academy to treat Harvey as if he is the only creep in the business is wrong,” Mitchell Block, a member of the short films and feature animation branch, told the Hollywood Reporter. “The problem is far larger than just Mr Weinstein. The silence about the other sociopaths is deafening. I think the Academy should not move hastily and take action until it fully understands the scope of the problem and formulates a clear policy.”
Weinstein has a complicated relationship with the Academy. On the one hand, according to a Quartz analysis, he is the second most-thanked person in Oscar award speeches over the past quarter-century, just behind Steven Spielberg and tied with God. His movies have been nominated for more than 300 Academy Awards. He won an Oscar himself as producer of the 1999 hit Shakespeare in Love.
On the other hand, some Hollywood insiders say Weinstein was more tolerated than loved – he has long been known for a gruff, abrasive demeanor. “He’s never been an insider with them,” one anonymous member told Daily Variety. “They’ve never really liked him.”
Many of the Academy rules around award-season lobbying were put in place in response to the type of aggressive campaigns Weinstein was famous for mounting.
The New York Times first reported allegations against Weinstein this month. More than 30 women have now accused the mega-producer of inappropriate sexual behavior, including four who have alleged that he raped them. The most recent rape allegation was levied by actor Rose McGowan on Twitter. In a string of tweets directed at Amazon Studios late on Thursday, she wrote: “HW raped me.”
Police forces in the US and the UK are investigating. In a statement issued after the New Yorker detailed allegations of rape, the TWC board said it was “shocked and dismayed” and “committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts”.
Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein, said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. With respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
In his Hollywood Reporter interview, Bob Weinstein said he had barely spoken to his brother in almost five years.
“I could not take his cheating, his lying and also his attitude toward everyone,” he said. While he said he was aware his brother was “philandering with every woman he could meet”, he insisted he had little idea about the alleged predatory harassment.
Weinstein insisted TWC could survive, in an interview in which, the Reporter said, he often became emotional. He and his brother, he said, ran separate companies so many of the people Harvey Weinstein did business with he had never met. “The members of the [TWC] board, including myself, did not know the extent of my brother’s actions,” he said.
Weinstein also said he was a victim of his brother’s abuse, including physical abuse.
“I do not put myself in the category at all of those women that he hurt,” he said. “But it’s a complicated situation when it’s your brother doing the abusing to you as well. I saw it and I asked him to get help for many years. And that’s the truth. He avoided getting the help. We begged him.”
His brother should never be allowed back into the film industry, he said. “He lost his rights. He didn’t lose his rights to be rehabilitated as a human being. But as far as being in this town again? I mean, give me a break.”
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