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Academy Board of Governors Approves Standards of Conduct

Academy CEO Dawn Hudson sent an email to members after the Board of Governors approved new Standards of Conduct.

oscars 2017 kohn

The view from the author’s seat at the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony.

Eric Kohn

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors has been wrestling with something they promised to do at that fateful October 14th meeting when they stripped accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein of his Academy membership. Questions have been raised about how to handle other existing Academy members accused of misconduct, from Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby to Stephen Collins and Roman Polanski, who have both admitted to having inappropriate sex with a minor, as well as future allegations.

Following Tuesday night’s Board meeting, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson sent out an email to Academy members, below. The Board has approved the Standards of Conduct, proposed by a special task force that has assembled procedures for dealing with allegations of misconduct in the Academy ranks. Those procedures will be revealed in the new year.

Dear Members,

Last night, our Board of Governors approved the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, a statement of values that we expect our members to uphold. Please read it here.

On behalf of the Governors, I want to thank the specially formed task force, led by Governor and Academy Officer David Rubin, whose members dedicated many hours of research and discussion to drafting this document and evaluating future steps. Over the course of weeks, the task force consulted with professors of ethics, business, philosophy, and law from Georgetown, Harvard, Notre Dame, and Stanford, as well as experts in human resources and sexual harassment. We met with our counterparts at the Television Academy and BAFTA, and, for reference, we also reviewed the codes of conduct of other organizations, including AFI, Film Independent, and UCLA.

Much remains to be done. The task force will finalize procedures for handling allegations of misconduct, assuring that we can address them fairly and expeditiously. This process will ultimately guide the Board of Governors in assessing if certain allegations warrant action regarding membership.  Those procedures will be sent to you in the new year.

We are articulating these standards with the simple goal of fostering the kind of environment that enables and supports creativity, and furthers the Academy’s mission.

If you have questions, please reach out to our Membership Department at membership@oscars.org or 31 0.247.3001.

All best,
Dawn Hudson
Academy CEO 

Here’s the statement, which is available only to Academy members via link in Hudson’s email.

Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers. In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. The Academy asks that members embrace their responsibility to affirm these principles and act when these principles are violated. There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values.

If any member is found by the Board of Governors to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions, the Board of Governors may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s Bylaws, including suspension or expulsion.

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