LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled television’s Bill Cosby and Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski on Thursday as the Academy Awards presenter responded to misconduct allegations roiling Hollywood.
Cosby and Polanski are the first known members expelled for violating a conduct code the Academy adopted in December following hundreds of accusations of sexual harassment or assault in the entertainment industry.
The Academy said in a statement its Board of Governors met on Tuesday and voted to remove Cosby and Polanski.
“The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” the body whose 8,000 members vote on the Oscars said in the statement.
The expulsion comes as the entertainment industry grapples with misconduct allegations that have led to dozens of powerful figures stepping down or being dropped from creative projects, sparking the #MeToo social movement and the Time’s Up campaign against workplace harassment and equal pay.
Cosby, 80, who was known as “America’s Dad” for his role on popular 1980s TV comedy “The Cosby Show,” was convicted last week of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
Polanski, 84, who won the best director Oscar in 2003 for “The Pianist,” in 1977 admitted to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.
The French-Polish director lives in France and fled the United States following pleading guilty for fear his deal with prosecutors would be overruled and he would get a lengthy prison term. Polanski’s case is still ongoing.
His attorney Harland Braun said the filmmaker was not given the chance to present his case before the Academy.
“This is very disappointing,” Braun said in a telephone interview.
“It’s just shocking that the Academy would expel someone without a fair hearing,” he added.
In response, the Academy pointed to its conduct code, which says the board “retains its independent duty and authority … to address and take action on any matter.”
A Cosby representative did not respond to a request seeking comment.
Four academy members are now known to have been expelled. Once powerful producer Harvey Weinstein was expelled in October after several women accused him of decades-long sexual misconduct.
Weinstein, 66, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Actor Carmine Caridi was expelled in 2004 for distributing copies of films that are sent to members.
Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Chris Reese