Motion Picture Academy Expels Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby

Fugitive director and disgraced actor both got the boot this week — but didn't the organization wait far too long?

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 04 May 2018 at 10:29 AM

The board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to expel both Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby.

The Academy voted on the move Tuesday night and released a statement, saying in part: “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 Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.”

Roman Polanski has long been a fugitive in the U.S., stemming from a trial at which he was found guilty of the rape of a 13-year-old girl. Bill Cosby was recently found guilty of sexual assault in a court of law. Both men have had other accusations of sexual assault lobbied against them.

The move by the Academy is no surprise: It also expelled disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein from its ranks last year. Yet in the case of Polanski, this is really too little, too late.

Before there was ever a #TimesUp or #MeToo movement, Polanski was a celebrated director, though he was unable to step foot inside the U.S. because of his rape conviction. Hollywood celebrated him; he was even given an Academy Award in 2003. Of course, he couldn't accept the award in person because he would have been arrested by authorities.

Jumping on a movement because it's trendy does not make up for past mistakes.

So expelling Polanski is certainly justified; but it shows the academy has a long history of hypocrisy for which it needs to make amends.

Jumping on a movement because it's trendy does not erase past mistakes.

PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter

(photo credit, homepage image: Roman Polanski, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Georges Biard / The World Affairs Council and Girard College present Bill Cosby, CC BY 2.0, by The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia; photo credit, article image: Roman Polanski...CC BY-SA 3.0, by Georges Biard)

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