When People Should Be Kicked Out of the Academy

Premiere Vicky Cristina Barcelona LA, Los Angeles, USA

Harvey Weinstein has been kicked out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is probably the right move. Now, there are calls to kick out some others, with references to Academy members Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Mel Gibson.

A particular problem with Weinstein was that he abused his power as a major player in Hollywood in order to harass and assault women. There isn’t as much a concern that anyone’s on a slippery slope in kicking him out, since his crimes were horrendous and related to his status in Hollywood. He should be removed from the organization, as should be anyone caught doing anything similar.

That seems to have been their standard in the past. The only other person expelled from the Academy is an elderly Godfather bit player who shared screeners. A producer of The Hurt Locker was disinvited from the Oscars because of violating campaigning norms. Offenses as a member of the group result in expulsion, rather than crimes and general misbehavior.

Cosby’s days as a member are probably numbered, given the extent of the allegations against him, and the way he used his celebrity to protect himself. I could see Polanski getting expelled, because there have been new allegations (even if the crimes occurred a long time ago.) He has also been convicted.

Gibson seems relatively safe, since he has avoided trouble, and his offenses weren’t related to his status in the industry. There would also be a slippery slope with him, as well as an invitation for more angry calls to kick out people for saying something stupid (IE- the next time a conservative celebrity says something inarticulate on race, or a liberal celebrity says something that could be construed as calling for violence.) The allegations against Woody Allen are horrifying, but fewer in number, and there isn’t sufficient evidence.

There has also been some chatter about revoking Weinstein’s previous awards, and maybe doing the same for others who have been accused of abuse in the past. Rose McGowan referred to Casey Affleck’s best actor Oscar as “a dirty Oscar.” This is a different area, as the only thing that should matter is the quality of the individual work. Whether Casey Affleck is scum should have no bearing on his performance (unless he got credit for playing a scumbag). If the Academy felt Shakespeare in Love was a better movie than Saving Private Ryan, that shouldn’t be changed by Weinstein’s crimes. It may give an incentive not to reward lesser work, so that if there’s ever a need to justify it, they could talk about the artistic merit rather than anything else.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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