Film academy expels Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby over sex crimes


(JTA) — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled director Roman Polanski and actor Bill Cosby over their convictions for sexual crimes.

The prestigious organization made the announcement on Thursday, two days after its board members voted on the issue, the BBC reported. In a statement, the academy said its board “has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct.”

Polanski, an Oscar-winning director who is Jewish, fled the United States some four decades ago after being convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl. Cosby was convicted of sexual assault last month.

Producer Harvey Weinstein was kicked out last year following numerous allegations of sexual assault.

Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, told Vanity Fair that his client will appeal the expulsion.

“We want due process,” Braun said. “That’s not asking too much of the academy, is it?”

Cosby’s wife, Camille, described his conviction as “mob justice, not real justice.”

“This tragedy must be undone not just for Bill Cosby, but for the country,” she said.

Polanski was arrested in 1977 for raping a 13-year-old Samantha Geimer during a photo shoot at actor Jack Nicholson’s home. He originally pleaded not guilty, but ultimately agreed to a deal for a single charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He fled the United States before he could be sentenced.

In 2003, Polanski won the Academy Award for best director for “The Pianist,” a Holocaust-themed production that is widely considered a masterpiece in its genre and beyond.

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