Roman Polanski Blasts #MeToo and Threatens to Sue Academy

May 9, 2018

By Max Godnick

Movie fans are used to hearing stars thank the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but it's rare for an Oscar winner to say he wants to sue it.

The Academy-award winning director Roman Polanski threatened to take legal action against the Academy after it voted May 3 to expel him from its ranks.

The expulsion comes more than 40 years after Polanski, the filmmaker behind "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown," pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, and 16 years since the Academy honored him as best director for "The Pianist."

Polanski's lawyer, Harland Braun, said in a letter to the Academy obtained by the Hollywood Reporter that the Academy did not give his client a chance to argue his case.

The Academy revised its rules in January, with new guidelines for membership and standards of conduct after accusations of sexual assault and harassment against the Academy member Harvey Weinstein. The revelations about Weinstein's conduct led to the widespread #MeToo movement, which Polanski called "collective hysteria" and "total hypocrisy."

"I think that it's the height of hypocrisy for a known pedophile and a sex offender to disparage and criticize people that have come forward after being sexually abused by powerful people in the media and Hollywood," said Jennifer Cunningham, senior editor at the African-American-focused entertainment news site Bossip.

So why did it take the Academy so many years to take action?

"I think they did not have a choice at this point," said Cunningham, in an interview with Cheddar. "Especially with Bill Cosby's conviction, maybe they were just trying to clean house and really distance themselves from these individuals."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Cosby and Polanski on the same day.

For the full interview, click here.

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