Hailed as the most prestigious organization in the film industry, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has officially decided to expel Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from its ranks, according to Deadline. The members of the governor’s board voted on the decision in a meeting on Tuesday. Their vote was “in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct,” the Academy said while announcing the news on Thursday.
Voting an Academy member out is quite rare—it has only happened four times in its 90-year history. The Academy also said in a statement, “The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.”
Cosby was found guilty on April 26 in Pennsylvania on three accounts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand in 2004. The former comedian awaits sentencing, and can face up to 30 years in prison. Dozens of women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexual assault over numerous decades.
Polanski pleaded guilty to five charges of sex with a minor and spent 42 days in jail before he fled to France, where he has since lived, unable to return to America. The forthcoming Tarantino-directed Charles Manson film will likely go into some of the details involving Polanski.
According to a new code of conduct for the Academy, the board of governors “can make the final determination on whether to suspend or expel a member,” given how severe the misconduct is. Of course the former members can choose to appeal the decision “within 10 business days, in writing to the Boar and c/o the Academy’s President or Secretary.”
Harvey Weinstein was also expelled from the Academy in an emergency meeting in October after a series of allegations arose, thanks to two articles from The New Yorker and The New York Times that shed light on another severe problem that has plagued Hollywood for decades.
Before that, only The Godfather Part II and III’s Carmine Caridi had been removed from the Academy, and that was for sharing screeners in 2004.
It is unknown yet whether Cosby or Polanski will appeal. Cosby, though an active film actor in the 1970s, has never been nominated for an Academy Award; however, Polanski has been nominated five times and won once for Best Director for the 2002 film The Pianist. Cosby also recently had his name removed from the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame.