Less than one week after being expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski is now threatening legal action, claiming that his ousting from the Academy was “illegal.”
In a letter (obtained by Deadline) to the AMPAS president John Bailey, Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, alleges that the Academy violated its Standards of Conduct when its board of governors voted to expel both Polanski and Bill Cosby last week. “Mr. Polanski has a right to go to court and require your organization to follow its own procedures, as well as California law,” reads Braun’s letter.
The threat follows numerous attempts by Braun to suggest that Polanski’s 1978 conviction for the rape of then-13-year-old Samantha Gailey was clouded by court misconduct and political corruption. That conviction and Polanski’s subsequent fleeing of the U.S. were the catalyst for his expulsion from the Academy, though he did win an Oscar for Best Director in 2003 for The Pianist. Polanski hasn’t set foot on American soil since fleeing in 1978 and has been shielded from extradition due to his French citizenship.
Braun’s letter doesn’t dispute the circumstances, instead focusing on a supposed violation of Academy bylaws and California Corporation Code. “We are not here contesting the merits of the expulsion decision, but rather your organization’s blatant disregard of its own Standards of Conduct … The only proper solution would be for your organization to rescind its illegal expulsion of Mr. Polanski and follow its own Standards of Conduct by giving Mr. Polanski reasonable notice of the charges against him and a fair hearing,” said Braun.
The AMPAS has yet to comment on Polanski and Braun’s claim, but have pointed out in the past that their claims highlight the incorrect rules relating to Polanski’s expulsion.