In the wake of the #MeToo movement, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has distanced itself from some of the film industry’s most egregious abusers of power. The organization, which serves as the voting body of the Oscars, first banned Harvey Weinstein from its membership ranks in 2017. The following year Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby were also permanently expelled.
Shortly after the expulsion, Polanski threatened to take legal action against the organization. Now, less than 12 months later, Polanski has actually moved forward with those threats and formally sued The Academy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, “filed a petition for writ of administrative mandamus,” requesting that a Los Angeles judge “force the Academy to reinstate him as a member in good standing.”
In his filing, Braun claimed that the Chinatown director wasn’t given the proper “opportunity to be heard on the matter,” which supposedly violates The Academy’s own policies. “The Academy committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion in that the Academy failed to proceed in a manner required by law,” he wrote, “the Academy’s expulsion decision is not supported by the findings, and the Academy’s findings are not supported by the evidence.”
Polanski is infamous for fleeing the country in the late ’70s after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Although he’s continued to make films, he’s remained a US fugitive. It was this case that eventually resulted in The Academy issuing the May 2018 ban, arguing that Polanski had violated the organization’s Standards of Conduct.