The Academy is laying the groundwork to prevent any kind of abuse and improper behavior from (and against) its members by drafting a Code of Conduct. In the wake of numerous sexual assault cases against producers, directors and other top-ranking officials in the business, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to establish a collection of set rules for its members to protect industry workers and have offenders accounted for their wrongdoings.
Sparked by the countless allegations against famed film producer Harvey Weinstein (followed by several more cases against other huge Hollywood game players), the 54-member board will be making this new endeavor a priority, as they reconvene in scheduled meetings in December and January. While there is no target date as to when the code will be finished or enacted, the organization appears to be determined to get the guideline in place to preempt any potential scandal similar to Weinstein’s in the future.
The announcement came from a letter sent by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson to organization members, where the exec reiterates the organization’s commitment to moving forward with its efforts in making sure that the industry is a safe work place for everyone. Here is an excerpt from that statement, courtesy of THR:
“Like you, the Academy’s Board of Governors is concerned about sexual harassment and predatory behavior in the workplace, especially in our own industry. We believe our Academy has a role to play in fostering a safe and respectful atmosphere for the professionals who make motion pictures. To this end, we are taking steps to establish a code of conduct for our members, which will include a policy for evaluating alleged violations and determining if action regarding membership is warranted.”
In conjunction to that, Hudson also stressed that while the Academy is being more aggressive in taking steps with regard to dealing with cases like Weinsteins’s, they “have no intention of functioning as an investigative body or moral court.” However, she does add that they “have a right and duty as a voluntary association to maintain clear standards of workplace behavior for those we accept as members.”
Although the Academy has by-laws specifying that with two/thirds of vote, the board of governors can expel any member “for cause” (like what happened to Weinstein), there is actually no definitive set of rules when it comes to governing the behavior of its associates outside of the standard operating procedure, come awards season. That means that so as long as members do their jobs and follow protocol, everything else they do outside of cannot be easily subjected to the scrutiny of the Association. The Code of Conduct aims to address that loophole in the future.
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