The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided Saturday to expel film producer Harvey Weinstein for the mounting allegations of sexual harassment and rape against him.
“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,” said The Academy in a statement.
According to Vanity Fair, over thirty women in the entertainment industry accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape. Though The Academy’s decision is justified, there is one major problem: Weinstein was not the only alleged predator in their ranks.
Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski are still members of The Academy. After allegations came out against them, the Academy did not call for a sudden emergency meeting to revoke their membership. Maybe the Academy needs a refresher on what these men have been accused of.
In 2005, Cosby admitted to slipping women quaaludes so that they would have sex with him when Andrea Constand filed a civil suit against him. On June 5, 2017, Cosby stood trial for aggravated indecent assault against Constand. Though the case ended in a mistrial, Cosby is still believed to have sexually assaulted at least 60 women.
Unlike Cosby and Weinstein, Polanski has actually been convicted of rape. In 1978, Polanski pleaded guilty to statutorily raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. However, Polanski has not experienced any repercussions legally or socially, as he fled to France prior to sentencing and has maintained his reputation as a talented filmmaker.
“Everyone wants to fuck young girls,” said Roman Polanski in 1979.
This year, two more women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Polanski. Both women, Renate Langer and Robin M., claimed Polanski raped them while they were 15 and 16 respectively.
Robin explained, “I’m speaking out now so Samantha and the world will know she is not the only minor Roman Polanski victimized.” According to The New York Times, this means four women have made accusations against him.
Even ignoring the hypocrisy with Cosby and Polanski, the Academy’s decision to boot Weinstein still seems arbitrary since Weinstein’s behavior is not new in Hollywood. Vox reports Weinstein’s “pattern of harassment has been described as more of an “open secret” in Hollywood.”
If the Academy wants to tackle the “old boys’ club” culture in Hollywood, they cannot create an arbitrary line or use Weinstein as a token symbol of feminism. The Academy must expel all members who have sexually assaulted or harassed women to sincerely combat the cycle of abuse among powerful, male executives and film personalities.