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Film Academy Sets Claims Process for ‘Standards of Conduct’ Violations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has outlined the next phase in its established “Standards of Conduct” for members in the wake of the ongoing sexual misconduct scandal rocking the entertainment industry.

AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson sent the following letter to the membership, which points Academy members to a login form to lodge claims of workplace misconduct:

Dear Members,

This afternoon, the Board of Governors approved the next phase in our Standards of Conduct initiative. This document outlines how individuals may report claims of workplace misconduct by Academy members in violation of our standards. You can review the document here. The Academy’s goal is not to be an investigative body, but rather ensure that when a grievance is made, it will go through a fair and methodical process. This process will determine whether a claim will be brought to the Board for possible action regarding membership status.

Since the depth of this issue came to light, our Board members and staff, led by Governor and Academy Officer David Rubin, have spent countless hours speaking with experts, gathering information, and weighing options to get us where we are today. This is a difficult time and a challenging process that will not be solved overnight. Our work continues and will require us to be nimble and refine our procedures as times demand. This is only a small step towards the larger goal of encouraging workplace environments that support creativity, equality, and respect, and align with the Academy’s mission.

The claims process notes that a claimant’s allegations “must be substantiated by clear evidence of behavior that violates the Academy’s Standards of Conduct,” and that such substantiation could include any of the following:

1) The violation was witnessed by another.

2) The violation was reported to another, after the event occurred.

3) The violation was memorialized in writing after the incident occurred.

4) The violation is part of an established pattern by the same member.

5) Following violation, the claimant experienced verifiable changes in their mental, emotional or physical well-being.

Qualifying claims, which can be submitted online or by telephone (provided that the claimant permits it to be recorded in order to ensure accuracy), will be forwarded to the Academy’s Membership and Administration Committee.

There are still questions about whether the Academy has any plans to expel members like Roman Polanski and Kevin Spacey in the wake of terminating disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein’s membership in October last year. The new documentation again notes, however, that the Academy will not itself initiate investigations.

The organization first established its code of conduct in December. That language is repeated in the new information:

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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