John Bailey, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is under investigation for sexual misconduct. The 75-year-old Bailey was appointed president of the Academy last August, replacing the departing Cheryl Boone-Isaacs. The latter spearheaded a push by the Academy in 2015 to diversify its membership, a five-year plan that recently faced some blowback over the Academy electing a white man to the top post.
AMPAS has made another movement in recent months, in accordance with the #MeToo movement spreading through Hollywood and beyond to other corners of the American workforce. The expulsion of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein marked a major sea change in not just the Academy but across the industry. Now, accusations have been levied against the man at the top of the Academy.
Bailey has been a cinematographer in Hollywood for nearly 50 years. He's known for his work on classics like Ordinary People, The Big Chill, and Groundhog Day. Most recently, he worked on 2017's How To Be A Latin Lover before becoming president of the Academy. Due to the confidential nature of the investigation to this point, details about the accusations against him are unknown. Here's a statement from the Academy on the matter:
"The Academy treats any complaints confidentially to protect all parties. The Membership Committee reviews all complaints brought against Academy members according to our Standards of Conduct process, and after completing reviews, reports to the Board of Governors. We will not comment further on such matters until the full review is completed."
The Academy's code of conduct has a detailed process when it comes to filing complaints against a member. It requires claimants' allegations to be "substantiated by clear evidence" of behavior that violates the code. If and when the complaints against Bailey reach the Membership and Administration Committee, Bailey will receive a written notice and have 10 days to respond before the allegations are reviewed again. The strength of the evidence against Bailey, and the severity of the alleged misconduct, remain wholly unclear to this point.
But three separate allegations certainly sounds like a strong case against the Academy president. If he were to end up being removed, he'd be replaced by vice president Lois Burwell, a makeup artist known for her work with Steven Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln, Bridge of Spies, and other historical films. But considering that the investigation is still in its very early stages, the Academy remains a long way from making that kind of decision.