The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, will hold members to a code of conduct in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and other prominent figures in the movie industry.
CEO Dawn Hudson announced in a letter to members Wednesday night that the academy’s board of governors had adopted “standards of conduct” for its more than 8,000 members.
“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency,” Hudson wrote. “The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”
Failing to abide by “the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity” could result in punishment, “including suspension or expulsion” from Hollywood’s de facto governing organization, Hudson said.
The academy board of governors in October held an emergency meeting to expel Weinstein, once an Oscar kingmaker. The group usually moves slowly to enact changes, and only one other member has ever been expelled.
It’s unclear how the academy’s new procedures will affect members who have previously faced accusations of sexual assault, including Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby.
In the months since reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed Weinstein’s serial sexual predation, the entertainment industry has grappled with how to respond to the cascade of sexual abuse allegations and underlying systemic issues.
Hudson’s letter said the academy recently established a task force to develop the new code of conduct and procedures for arbitration. The task force, led by board member David Rubin, dedicated “many hours of research and discussion to drafting this document and evaluating future steps,” with help from academics and experts in sexual harassment, law, ethics, business and human resources. The task force also consulted with other film organizations, including the American Film Institute and Film Independent.
The task force is still working to “finalize procedures for handling allegations of misconduct, assuring that we can address them fairly and expeditiously,” and will release those details early next year, according to Hudson’s letter.