The organization behind the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has voted to strip actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski of their membership, following an examination of the sexual assault convictions that surround both men. A statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors said the decision came during a meeting on Tuesday night.
“The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” the statement read.
Last October Harvey Weinstein was booted from the organization, after reports in The New Yorker and The New York Times brought numerous allegations of sexual misconduct to light. Since then, the Academy introduced a revised code of conduct to its 8,400 members, and CEO Dawn Hudson said a new process would be revealed to determine “whether a claim will be brought to the Board for possible action regarding membership status.” According to the Associated Press, suspension or expulsion requires two thirds approval of the 55-member board.
The vote determines that Polanski and Cosby do not meet the new standards of the Academy. Cosby, who had been a member since 1996, is currently awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of sexual assault. More than 60 women have come forward to accuse him, and several of them testified in court earlier this month. Polanski has been living in exile since 1978; he fled the U.S. before he could be sentenced in a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. He had been a member of the Academy since 1969 and was nominated for five Oscars and won Best Director in 2003.
According to Variety, Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, said Polanski was “not afforded an opportunity” to defend himself to the Academy and protocol had not been properly followed leading up to the vote.
The move to expel Cosby and Polanski sets up a new precedent for how the Academy will deal with allegations of sexual misconduct in the future. Already some outlets have wondered if other actors accused—including Casey Affleck and Woody Allen—will face similar consequences.