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Academy President John Bailey Denies Sexual Harassment Allegations

In a memo to the staff of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization’s president, John Bailey, has denied a sexual harassment allegation leveled against him.

Bailey said one named complaint was presented to the Academy regarding an alleged incident dating back more than 10 years. Variety reported on March 16 that the organization had received three complaints.

“I am alleged to have attempted to touch a woman inappropriately while we were both riding in a transport van on a movie set,” Bailey wrote in the memo, which went out Friday, March 23. “That did not happen.”

The ongoing situation has become the first true test of the Academy’s new standards of conduct and complaint review process in the midst of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Bailey did not respond to a request for comment. His memo states that he has refrained from commenting thus far because he “wanted to allow the Academy process to play out.”

Any allegations are currently under review by an Academy subcommittee led by casting director David Rubin. Bailey won the presidency over Rubin in a surprise victory at last August’s election.

The Academy has not commented beyond a March 16 statement:

“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.”

Read Bailey’s full memo below.

Dear staff:

I have refrained from comment on the various media accounts about me of the past several days because I wanted to allow the Academy process to play out. However, in light of several repeated false stories, I feel compelled to set the record straight with those of you who work side by side with me on behalf of the Academy. The media reports describing multiple complaints made to the Academy about me are false and have served only to tarnish my 50 year career.

The fact that the existence of an allegation even became public thwarts the confidential review process that the Academy adopted and is supposed to follow when receiving complaints.

There was a single named complaint regarding an allegation dating back more than a decade ago in which I am alleged to have to attempted to touch a woman inappropriately while we were both riding in a transport van on a movie set. That did not happen.

I have supported women throughout my career and am heartened by the outpouring of support I have received from numerous women with whom I have worked and supported during my career

While I cannot undo the damage of having a false narrative leaked to the press I expect the committee will undertake its obligation to review this matter faithfully. Because I know the facts, I expect they will conclude that there is no basis to take any action against me. While there have been well documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them. I care deeply about women’s issues and support equal treatment and access for all individuals working in this profession. I am proud to serve as President of the Academy and am committed to carrying on the important work the board elected me to do.

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