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30 January 2018

Will the Academy’s new complaints process affect Woody Allen, Bill Cosby?

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Casey Affleck, an actor who has been accused of sexual abuse by female crew members on earlier films, has withdrawn as a presenter at the 2018 Academy Awards, the organization said Thursday.Newslook

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In the wake of the Academy’s hasty expulsion of Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by 84 women of sexual misconduct, the governing body is formalizing new procedures for evaluating its membership.

What will it mean for members like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey — all Academy cardholders who have joined a growing list of Hollywood power players accused of sexual misconduct?

It remains to be seen, but an avenue for formalizing complaints with the film world’s most prestigious governing group has just been opened.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released a detailed memo outlining how it will deal with allegations against its members going forward, which was sent to members on Saturday by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.

“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency,” the memo says. Members who violate the Academy’s new code of conduct may be subject to disciplinary action “including suspension or expulsion.”

Notably, the group says it won’t “initiate” investigations, but “substantiated” claims will be taken in writing (a secure website will be established this summer) or by telephoning the Academy’s membership department.

The governing body will decide whether to take no action or notify the member in question, giving the person a 10-day window to respond.

“The Academy’s goal is not to be an investigative body, but rather ensure that when a grievance is made, it will go through a fair and methodical process,” Hudson wrote.

If the matter is deemed serious enough to warrant suspension or expulsion, the claims will be passed on to the Board of Governors.

A representative for the Academy did not immediately respond to a query on whether formal complaints have been taken against members including Allen, Cosby and Polanski.

Polanski pled guilty to statutory rape in a plea bargain in the late ’70s and has since attempted to resolve the decades-old case. Cosby is trying to get his sexual-assault case (now on its way to retrial) tossed. Allen has vehemently denied allegations that he sexually assaulted his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.

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