John Bailey, who was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last August, is under investigation for sexual harassment. Variety first reported the news, noting that AMPAS received three different harassment claims on Wednesday and immediately launched its investigation. Bailey, 75, is a cinematographer and occasional director who received the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and a Best Artistic Contribution prize from the Cannes Film Festival in 1985 for Paul Schrader’s “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.”
No details about the nature of the claims has been released. These allegations come in the midst of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, which began when Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment, assault, and rape by dozens of women beginning last October. Weinstein himself was expelled from the Academy, an incredibly rare move.
Last month’s Oscars featured a video tribute to Time’s Up and a number of jokes about the ongoing situation by host Jimmy Kimmel; in addition, Casey Affleck, who won Best Actor last year and would normally have presented the award for Best Actress, stepped down from those duties after having been accused of sexual harassment in the past.
Should Bailey be forced to resign as president, he’ll be temporarily replaced by vice president Lois Burwell, a makeup artist who will serve as acting president until the Academy’s next election in July.
Update: The Academy has released the following statement, which does not mention Bailey by name:
“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.”