This AFP file photo taken on March 2, 2014 shows producer Harvey Weinstein arriving for the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood’s de facto governing body, has voted overwhelmingly to expel disgraced American film producer Harvey Weinstein amid mounting accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape.
The academy, known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, or the “Oscars,” made the decision on Saturday at an emergency session.
In a statement, the world’s top movie organization said the vote was “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority.”
“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
,” it added.
The academy said it would “work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all academy members will be expected to exemplify.”
Weinstein, 65, was fired last week by the movie and television studio he co-founded with his brother, The Weinstein Company.
Weinstein, who was born in New York City to a Jewish family, has denied the rape allegations, while acknowledging that his behavior “caused a lot of pain.”
Although largely symbolic, the expulsion of Weinstein from the approximately 8,400-member academy is stunning because the organization is not known to have taken such action before.
The ouster was unprecedented since the academy was founded 90 years ago, turning one of the biggest Oscar players in history into a Hollywood pariah.
Weinstein’s films have received more than 81 Oscars, according to The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded with his brother Bob Weinstein in 1979 after selling Miramax.
An avalanche of claims have surfaced since the publication of an explosive report earlier this month by The New York Times that alleged a history of abusive behavior by Weinstein dating back decades .
At least 30 women and actresses have so far accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting and raping them, including Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie and Kate Beckinsale.
British actress Lysette Anthony told London’s Metropolitan Police last week that Weinstein raped her in the 1980s, The Sunday Timesreported, making her the latest actress to level such accusations.
The once-powerful producer’s wife, British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, announced she was divorcing him, and leading US
politicians whom he had funded and supported have denounced him.
On Saturday, former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Weinstein’s alleged conduct “disgusting” and “heartbreaking” before comparing the disgraced movie mogul to US President Donald Trump.
The 2016 Democratic nominee for president made the comments in an interview with the UK’s Channel 4 News
, while commenting on allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein, a longtime Democratic donor.
Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, yet the American nation chose to elect him, Clinton said.
“Look, we just elected someone who admitted sexual assault to the presidency. So there’s a lot of other issues that are swirling around these kinds of behaviors that need to be addressed,” said the former secretary of state.