The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the organisation behind the Oscars. "The procedures taken to expel Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate," a spokesperson said, reports variety.com. The Academy's statement comes after Polanski filed a suit against the non-profit this week, demanding reinstatement after he was ousted last May.
The suit, filed in the state of California, said the Academy did not follow proper protocol in dismissing him nearly a year ago. The Academy did so "in accordance with the organisation's Standards of Conduct", they said at the time, adding their leadership expected members to "uphold the Academy's values of respect for human dignity".
Polanski's suit said the Academy's expulsion decision "is not supported by findings, and the Academy's findings are not supported by evidence". The Oscar winner wants the decision reversed and is asking the Academy to pay any costs incurred by the suit.
Polanski was dismissed along with comedian Bill Cosby at a time when the #MeToo movement encouraged hundred of sexual assault and harassment accusers to come forward with accounts of abuse at the hands of powerful Hollywood men.
Months before Polanski and Cosby were dismissed, the Academy moved swiftly to eject Harvey Weinstein from its ranks.
Polanski, who was arrested in 1977 for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl, has lived in France for decades in order to avoid imprisonment. Though he continued to make films with top talent, winning an Oscar 2003 for THE PIANIST, his past crimes received renewed attention in the post-Weinstein era.
- By IANS