On Thursday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences removed Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from its ranks for their convictions for sexual offences.
The organisation is best known for awarding the Academy Awards known colloquially as the Oscars, which celebrate artistic and technical merit in the American film industry.
In a statement issued two days after Academy members voted to ban the two, according to the BBC. The Academy said in the statement it, “has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organisation’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 been known for his sexual predation since the 1970s.
In 1977, the acclaimed director assaulted 13-year-old model Samantha Gailey. Polanski raped Gailey after drugging her with mandrax and alcohol, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Polanski was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault including lewd acts, rape by use of drugs and perversion. He pleaded guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse” and spent 90 days in jail. After 42 days he was released from prison and escaped to Europe. He has not returned to the United States since and remains “a fugitive from justice.”
Polanski has also faced four other accusations for sexually assaulting children, Vox reports.
On April 26, actor and comedian Bill Cosby who was famous for his hit television series, “The Cosby Show,” was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault including drugging and molestation. He faces the possibility of a maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison.
As many as 60 women came forward with allegations of this nature, but he was only found guilty of assaulting and drugging Andrea Constand in 2004, according to The Washington Post. His case is one of the more prominent cases to be presented before a court since the inception of the #MeToo movement. In 2017, Cosby was tried for sexual assault, but the court proceedings resulted in a hung jury and was declared a mistrial. Cosby was retried in April 2017.
This is the first known time in the Academy’s history where the Academy has had to find ways to combat sexual misconduct. Only two other members have been banned from the Academy before. The other members who are banned include movie mogul Harvey Weinstein for “sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment”, and film and television actor Carmine Caridi for copyright infringement.