Disgraced Weinstein expelled from Oscar-awarding Academy

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Published 14.10.2017 21:03
Updated 14.10.2017 23:46
Harvey Weinstein poses on the Red Carpet after arriving at the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, U.S., February 26, 2017. (Reuters Photo)
Harvey Weinstein poses on the Red Carpet after arriving at the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, U.S., February 26, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

Disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, according to reports in the entertainment media.

The Academy's 54-member board of governors conducted the vote at an emergency meeting at the organization's headquarters in Beverly Hills, California.

The board voted "well in excess" of the required two-thirds majority to immediately expel Weinstein, the academy said in a statement quoted by Variety.

In a statement issued earlier this week, the board called the allegations against Weinstein "repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the academy and the creative community it represents."

Since the outbreak of the scandal, more than two dozen actresses including Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Lea Seydoux have come forward saying they were sexually harassed by the producer.

The latest allegations involved the former Bond Girl Eva Green, whose mother told French radio Weinstein had harassed her daughter for months, and British actress Alice Evans who penned an essay for the Telegraph claiming she had rejected his advances, and believes it may have harmed her career.

Weinstein was seen in public for the first time in days when paparazzi descended upon him as he left his daughter's home in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

'Sick and depraved'

"Guys, I'm not doing OK but I'm trying," he said in a video obtained by ABC. "I got to get help. You know what, we all make mistakes."

As he climbed into an oversized sports utility vehicle, he said he hoped people would give him "a second chance."

Celebrity gossip portal TMZ reported that Weinstein later flew to rehab in Arizona, possibly at The Meadows, a facility near Phoenix where golfer Tiger Woods and supermodel Kate Moss have been treated.

Weinstein's brother and business partner Bob told The Hollywood Reporter in an emotional interview published Saturday that he knew the tycoon was a cheater, but said he was unaware the extent of his "sick and depraved" behavior.

"For me, I thought he was literally just going out there cheating in a pervasive way," he is quoted as saying.

"It wasn't like he even had a mistress. It was one after another and that I was aware of. But as far as being in a room and hearing the description in The New York Times? No way."

Weinstein appears to have garnered little sympathy from the public, either, according to a survey conducted by celebrity branding expert and bestselling author Jeetendr Sehdev.

Some 82 percent of 2,000 people questioned as part of an ongoing study into American attitudes to celebrity and entertainment said he should be kicked out of the Academy.

Six in 10 said they would be less likely to watch the annual Oscars ceremony if Weinstein is allowed to remain and 40 percent said he should be stripped of the Oscar he won for producing "Shakespeare in Love" (1998).

'Sleazy'

More broadly, a striking half of respondents said they now viewed Hollywood as a "sleazy" brand.

"It's critical for the Academy to show a zero tolerance policy towards the heinous and vile allegations against Weinstein. They need to strip him of his membership immediately," Sehdev said.

With the Academy's image already damaged by the 2016 "Oscars so white" controversy over the lack of racial diversity among acting nominees, it can't be seen to be supporting a "serial sexual predator," he added.

Hollywood, too, has largely turned its back on Weinstein, with veteran filmmaker Oliver Stone and fashion designer Donna Karan offering the only words of support.

While Stone merely warned against Weinstein being "condemned by a vigilante system," Karan went further, triggering outrage when she suggested women had been seeking a reaction from Weinstein by dressing provocatively.

Expulsion is a sanction the Academy has used just once in its history, according to the trade magazine, against "The Godfather II" actor Carmine Caridi.

He was accused of giving tapes of around 60 Oscar movies seeking consideration for the Academy Awards to a neighbor who turned out to be a pirate.

Weinstein's films have received more than 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes, according to The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded after selling Miramax.

The studio fired him on Sunday and is exploring a sale or shutdown, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile the producer's wife, English fashion designer Georgina Chapman, has said she plans to divorce him.

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