Roman Polanski’s attorney Harland Braun sent a letter to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president John Bailey on Tuesday, threatening to sue over what he calls Polanski’s “illegal” expulsion from the organization last week.
“I am writing this letter to you to avoid unnecessary litigation,” the letter reads. “Mr. Polanski has a right to go to court and require your organization to follow its own procedures, as well as California law.”
“The only proper solution would be for your organization to rescind its illegal expulsion of Mr. Polanski and follow its own Standards of Conduct by giving Mr. Polanski reasonable notice of the charges against him and a fair hearing to present his position with respect to any proposed expulsion,” the letter goes on. “We are not here contesting the merits of the expulsion decision, but rather your organization’s blatant disregard of its own Standards of Conduct in, as well as its violations of the standards required by California Corporations Code.”
The Academy announced that it was expelling Polanski, as well as Bill Cosby, on May 3 “in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct.” “The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” it said in a statement.
According to the Academy’s new code, the membership and administration committee may receive complaints and seek a response from an accused member. The member has 10 days to submit a written rebuttal. The committee may then make a recommendation on discipline to the full board. The member is allotted 10 days to appeal the board’s decision. The code also includes a provision whereby the board retains the authority to impose discipline without following the new process. The Academy’s bylaws state that, “Any member of the Academy may be suspended or expelled for cause by the Board of Governors. Expulsion or suspension as herein provided for shall require the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all the Governors.”
Just days before the Academy’s announcement, Cosby had been convicted for three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Polanski, meanwhile, fled the country in 1978 while awaiting sentencing for statutory rape, and has been on the lam ever since.
Braun also protested the Academy’s decision when it was first announced, telling Variety that Polanski was not given the chance to defend himself. “It seems to be wrong to just expel someone and make a decision without knowing all the facts,” he said at the time.
Read the full letter below:
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