Roman Polanski Threatens Lawsuit Over Academy Expulsion

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Polanski. Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Roman Polanski’s attorney plans to appeal the director’s expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, according to Vanity Fair. Polanski’s lawyer Harland Braun told the magazine that the Academy didn’t follow its own rules in this week’s surprise expulsion of Polanski and Bill Cosby. Polanski fled the United States during an underage sex case in 1977, and has been accused of other sexual assaults. He won the Academy Award for Best Director in 2003. Bill Cosby was found guilty of multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault last week. In its decision, the board of governors said the men were being dismissed in accordance with its new code of conduct, implemented after decades of sexual harassment and assault allegations came out against Harvey Weinstein.

“We want due process,” Braun told VF. “That’s not asking too much of the Academy, is it?” Based on the Academy rules, Braun said, Polanski was supposed to have been given notice of the potential ruling, and have ten days to present his case in a hearing. (Per Variety, the code also includes a provision where the board can discipline members without following the new process.) “It was a complete debacle in the sense that they didn’t follow their own rules,” he said. Samantha Geimer, the victim in the case, told Vanity Fair the Academy’s ruling was cruel.

Update Tuesday May 8: Roman Polanski’s lawyer Harland Braun says his client is willing to file a lawsuit over his Academy expulsion. According to Deadline, Braun sent a letter to AMPAS president John Bailey today detailing his client’s grievances, and their legal grounds for a suit: “I am writing this letter to you to avoid unnecessary litigation. Mr. Polanski has a right to go to court and require your organization to follow its own procedures, as well as California law.” Braun maintains that the Academy violated its own Standards of Conduct and standards required by the California Corporations Code when the board of governors voted last week to expel Polanski and Cosby for misconduct.

Roman Polanski Threatens Lawsuit Over Academy Expulsion