Roman Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, has filed a petition asking a Los Angeles judge to force the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to reinstate the director as a member of the organization in good standing (via Variety). The Academy announced May 3, 2018 that it had voted to expel Polanski and Bill Cosby for not meeting its standards of conduct. Polanski and Braun fought against the decision at the time but the filmmaker was expelled nonetheless.
In the petition sent April 21, Braun notes the Academy let Polanski petition for reconsideration but failed to give the director an opportunity to be heard on the issue of his expulsion. Braun said this decision is a violation of the Academy’s policies.
“The Academy committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion in that the Academy failed to proceed in a manner required by law, the Academy’s expulsion decision is not supported by the findings, and the Academy’s findings are not supported by the evidence,” Braun writes.
Braun’s filing mentions that Polanski’s films have been nominated for 28 Academy Awards. The filmmaker won the Best Director honor for “The Pianist” and was allowed to keep his trophy despite being expelled form the Academy.
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Polanski and Braun previously sued the Academy in May 2018 over the issue, accusing the Academy of failing to adhere to a fair process while handling the case of Polanski’s membership. Braun’s statement at the time read: “Mr. Polanski was supposed to be given notice, and have 10 days to present his side. It was a complete debacle in the sense that they didn’t follow their own rules…They short-circuited it all. It’s shocking that they’re so unfair. We’re going to try to sit down with the Academy and say, ‘Hey, look, guys, follow the rules.’”
Polanski’s rape trial from the 1970s resurfaced in late 2017 and 2018 during the #MeToo and Time’s Up anti-harassment movements. The director was convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl. Polanski made headlines after being expelled from the Academy for saying the #MeToo movement was “collective hysteria” and “total hypocrisy.” The director brought his latest film, “Based on a True Story,” to the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. The movie has never been released in U.S. theaters.