I know we can be a little snarky here at CollegeHumor sometimes, but even we have to salute the incredible bravery of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' decision to expel (alleged) serial sexual harasser / assault-er / rapist, Harvey Weinstein, from their membership, along with the following statement:
"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors met today to discuss the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and has voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority to immediately expel him from the Academy. We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What's at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society. The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify."
And if it wasn't clear WHY this decision was so unbelievably courageous, we'll explain it to you.
1. They didn't hesitate at all (except for waiting over a week and for countless others to come forward detailing the harassment and assault they faced at the hands of Harvey Weinstein)
The group acted swiftly, waiting only WELL over a week (they formally expelled Weinstein on October 14th, about 9 days after the earth-shattering report from the NY Times) to make the move. We really need to tip our hats to the boldness required to wait until everyone under the sun came out to recount their own experiences of being harrassed / assaulted / raped by Harvey Weinstein and for him to become 100% toxic to the degree that everyone in the universe unanimously agreed what an absolute cretin he was. To think, there were probably other organizations that would have waited....10 days or more! But not the Academy! No - when they heard the news about Harvey Weinstein (which all of its members had known about for decades), they bravely decided to sit around and do nothing for an embarrassingly long time and THEN offer up this empty gesture. Bravo!
2. This is a groundbreaking move for them (since the only other person they ever kicked out was someone who may have been leaking movies to the internet)
Weinstein's expulsion is somewhat unique to the Academy, which has - in the past - only ever expelled one other member in its entire history: actor Carmine Caridi. Much like Weinstein, Caridi was a twisted, sick, perverted individual who had been a scourge in the industry for years and years - see, he committed the monstrous crime of LEAKING HIS SCREENERS ONLINE (maybe).
I know, I know - if you need to take a minute to stop vomiting in disgust or wake yourself from fainting, we completely understand. Take a moment and compose yourself before we get into the horrible details - in 2004, a leaked copy of Something's Gotta Give that had been being torrented from the internet was traced back to Caridi, who received the screener (and dozens of others per year) as a voting member of the Academy Awards. Yes, Something's Gotta Give was victimized by Carmine Caridi - a crime AT LEAST on the level of everything Harvey Weinstein's done. It was discovered that Caridi may have been responsible for nearly 60 other leaked copies of films from previous years - leaving the Academy with no other recourse than to sue Caridi and expel him from the Academy.
So remember this: if you think you can get away with decades of rape, sexual assault, and harassment OR leaking screeners to the internet, THINK AGAIN. Because the brave individuals at the Academy will not stand for EITHER. The leaking screeners thing is apparently more important, since that was the first thing they got to, but still.
3. They've set a powerful new standard (that they have given no indication is actually a standard and not a single empty gesture meant to deflect criticism)
I for one am glad to see the Academy deciding to expel members for grotesque immorality, sex crimes, and terrible behavior. They are setting a standard of conduct that all of their members must adhere to in order to remain in good standing amongst their peers. After all - why would a group like this condone and remain complicit in the company of this kind of person? Pretty excited because that means they'll HAVE to expel more people, right? Like:
- Roman Polanski
- Woody Allen
- Mel Gibson
- Bryan Singer
- Bill Cosby
- Brian Peck
- Victor Salva
- Casey Affleck
...and, uh, probably countless others? Those are just the ones I can name off the top of my head, but there are obviously hundreds and hundreds more that get whispered about and mentioned commonly - it's just that Harvey Weinstein was such an exaggerated and powerful individual that his crimes and behavior (sexual harassment, multiple rapes) caused him to fall more spectacularly than most of the others. But they'll DEFINITELY be getting around to expelling a lot more people any day now, right? This wasn't just a calculated PR move to use Harvey Weinstein as an easy sacrificial lamb to make it look like they were actively doing something about this systemic, widespread issue when in fact they were continuing to protect and normalize other known monsters within their ranks, right? This is the herald of a new era of powerful individuals within this system being rooted out when their behavior first becomes known, not decades later once the news storm against them has completely wiped them out and there's absolutely no danger or risk associated with acting against them, right?
Of course it does! We thank the members of the Academy for their bravery. Let's hope we can rid the world of monsters like Harvey Weinstein and Carmine Caridi sooner next time.