When Hollywood’s most prestigious organization, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) — the group of nearly 7,000 actors, directors and other industry types who dole out the Oscars — expelled Harvey Weinstein on Oct. 14, audiences applauded. But by acting so swiftly, a mere nine days after the New York Times first reported allegations of sexual assault against the movie producer, the outfit now finds itself facing a dilemma.
Put simply: What to do with the rest of them?
“Harvey opened the floodgates,” said one male Academy member. “Now the Academy’s drowning in a tide of s—t. They don’t know what hit them.”
What hit, of course, were more alleged horror stories about so many other members: Kevin Spacey assaulting multiple young men, Dustin Hoffman sticking his hands in women’s pants, director Brett Ratner forcing himself on actresses. Ben Affleck seen on video groping a female host on “Total Request Live.” Screenwriter James Toback accused of sexual misdeeds by nearly 40 women. (As of this past Tuesday, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said it is considering criminal charges in five cases against Toback. He, Spacey, Hoffman and Ratner, deny the claims against them.)
“[We] can’t regret [kicking out Harvey] because [we] didn’t really have a choice,” said one male member of AMPAS’ board of governors. “Some members were quite vehement. But [we] didn’t have time to really weigh out the repercussions.”
The emergency meeting to deal with Weinstein was conducted by the 54-member board of governors — which includes Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldbergand Laura Dern — after it received a Change.org petition with 100,000 signatures calling for his ouster.
“But they didn’t give themselves time to plot out how to deal with this going forward,” said one prominent female AMPAS member. “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.”
And it’s not just new allegations that are haunting the Academy. What to do about two of the most notorious accused sexual predators in Hollywood, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, who were charged years before the Weinstein stories broke? Or, for that matter, Casey Affleck — who last year won the Best Actor Oscar — and the two settled cases of sexual-harassment against him? (Cosby and Affleck deny the accusations.)
SOURCE: Merle Ginsberg
New York Post: Page Six