Shortly after a pair of exposes revealed the "open secret" of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct over a period of decades, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him from its ranks. That was in mid-October. In the weeks and months that followed, a seemingly endless stream of accusations about similar behavior hit the likes of Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, screenwriter James Tobak and others.
But as the New York Post points out, the second wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations hasn't resulted in the alleged perpetrators' ouster from the Academy, creating an awkward situation for Hollywood as awards season kicks off with the Golden Globes this weekend.
"Harvey opened the floodgates. Now the Academy's drowning in a tide of s—. They don't know what hit them," one member of the organization told the Post.
A male member of the group's board of governors, which includes Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg and Laura Dern, said he has no regrets about banning Harvey Weinstein after a Change.org petition boasting more than 100,000 signatures demanded the action "because [we] didn't really have a choice." On the other hand, he said, "[we] didn't have time to really weigh out the repercussions."
A source described as a "prominent female" member of the nearly 7,000-person Academy said the board of governors "didn't give themselves time to plot out how to deal with this going forward." She went on to suggest getting rid of Harvey was somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction to the bad press.
"Kathleen Kennedy [producer of the 'Star Wars' series] and some other female governors panicked and felt compelled to act. They thought [Weinstein] could hurt AMPAS' cred. Some of them did admit this was a slippery slope. But I don't think they imagined how slippery. It's definitely caused some problems and fights among the board members," she said.
Asked to respond to the Post, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson declined, choosing instead to reissue her office's original statement:
"[A] task force will finalize procedures for handling allegations of misconduct, assuring that we can address them fairly and expeditiously. This process will ultimately guide the board of governors in assessing if certain allegations warrant action regarding membership. Those procedures will be sent to you in the new year," one part of the statement read.
A female Academy member is quoted as telling the Post the statement was "vague" because there may not be much of a plan in place yet for what happens to alleged sexual predators going forward. "The board says they're going to take action, but what action? It will have to be case by case. They must revisit and reinvent the rules of membership — and it's gonna get nasty," the member said.
Meanwhile, multiple allegations of harassment and assault were logged against Bill Cosby and Casey Affleck long before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. An indie filmmaker petitioned the Academy with 20,000 signatures requesting Casey be barred from presenting the Best Actress Oscar given the lawsuits he faced in 2010 from two former coworkers. One of them, producer Amanda White, claimed Casey had told a guitarist to expose himself to her, grabbed her by the arm "violently," tried to coerce her into sharing a hotel room with him and, when she declined, sent her "abusive text messages." He has since denied all of the allegations.
A publicist representing two of the women who have alleged Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them told the Post he wrote a letter to the Academy demanding the comic's ouster. "There's been no response to my letter," he said.
The fifth woman who claimed Roman Polanski sexually assaulted her when she was underage also reportedly filed a petition asking for the director to be removed from the Academy. She has reportedly gotten no response.
Meanwhile, Marianne Barnard, a Santa Barbara, Calif., artist who's the fifth woman to claim Polanski sexually assaulted her when she was underage, launched a Care2 petition on Oct. 18, demanding the Academy eject him. So far, no response.
"None of [us] really know what the governors are thinking on this subject. They rarely tell us anything until they've decided. Then we have to read it in the trades or get a curt e-mail from Dawn, usually after it appears in the press. All we can do is roll our eyes. I'm in favor of taking a very measured approach and not a knee-jerk reaction," one member of the Academy.
Another female member pointed out: " … Right now, it's easier to get someone an Academy Award than to get them expelled from the Academy."