Roman Polanski is suing to get back into the Academy. Throughout his extensive filmmaking career, Polanski has been many things to many different people. As a child, he and his parents were held in the infamous Krakow Ghetto by the Nazis, then managed to survive the Holocaust as an orphan before kicking off a promising writing/directing career.
When his first film, 1962’s Knife in the Water was nominated for an Oscar, Polanski’s reputation began to grow as one of the hottest young filmmakers working. The status continued for several years more, but then, in 1969, Polanski’s wife - actress Sharon Tate - was brutally murdered by the Manson Family while pregnant with Polanski’s unborn child. The murder sent shockwaves around the world, remaining a source of fascination for many even today, some 50 years later. However, the sympathy and heartbreak that the public felt for Polanski as a result of this tragedy evaporated less than a decade later when the filmmaker plead guilty to the drugging and raping of a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.
Polanski fled to Europe shortly after serving a brief psychiatric evaluation sentence in Los Angeles. Since that time, he has remained in France and Switzerland, avoiding countries that could potentially extradite him to the United States. Last year, however, Polanski was expelled from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Now, according to THR, Polanski has decided to fight the ban, by suing the Academy for wrongfully dismissing him. He contends that he was unjustly dismissed from the organization after not being permitted to have his side of the issue heard. This, according to Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, constitutes a violation of the Academy’s policies. In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Braun wrote:
"The Academy committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion in that the Academy failed to proceed in a manner required by law, the Academy's expulsion decision is not supported by the findings, and the Academy's findings are not supported by the evidence."
The lawsuit comes at a time when numerous sexual misconduct scandals abound, with Hollywood trying to take steps to ensure that the conditions and actions that led to previous incidents are no longer tolerated. It’s a lengthy battle to wage, but the rise of the #MeToo movement has done much to see alleged offenders such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey removed from the positions of power they once held.
It’s odd, to say the least, that Polanski would decide that now is the time to fight this dismissal. Bill Cosby, Weinstein, and Polanski make up three of the four Academy members to ever be expelled from its ranks in its entire 92-year history. That’s not a statistic that anyone wants to be a part of, so based on that, it’s understandable why Polanski would wish to remove himself from such company. However, the fact that Polanski has previously pled guilty to his charges leaves the world with the impression of a man who has still not sufficiently paid for his crimes, and no lawsuit is likely to change that.