Roman Polanski is threating to file a lawsuit against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the alleged illegal expulsion of his membership from the organization.
Polanski's attorney Harland Braun sent a letter to the Academy's president John Bailey on Tuesday with threats about a legal suit over the unfair treatment his client received. In the letter, Braun asked for a "fair hearing" instead of the immediate expulsion of the director's membership.
Braun clarified that he and Polanski are not contesting the merits of the expulsion decision. Instead, they are calling out the Academy for its blatant disregard of its own Standards of Conduct when it removed the filmmaker from the organization without due process. Braun likewise said that the Academy violated the standards required by California Corporations Code. For these reasons, Braun is asking for a fair trial be imposed on his client.
"I am writing this letter to you to avoid unnecessary litigation. 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," reads the letter.
Academy Standards Of Conduct
The Academy Standards of Conduct implemented in January calls for its members to submit a written rebuttal in 10 days following the receipt of a complaint. The committee then makes a recommendation on discipline and the accused member has 10 days to make an appeal on the board's decision.
However, the Academy's bylaws also state that the Board of Governors can expel or suspend any member for cause. This decision is dependent on the number of affirmative votes from not less than two-thirds of the Governors. The accused member can no longer make an appeal under this provision.
"The Board of Governors retains its independent duty and authority as outlined in the bylaws to address and take action on any matter, whether submitted by the process outlined above or not, related to a member's status and to enforce the Academy's Standards of Conduct," reads Section 8 of the bylaws.
The Academy stripped Polanski (The Pianist, Rosemary's Baby) of his membership in accordance with the organization's ethical standard of valuing the respect for human dignity. The director pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and spent 42 days in jail and on probation as part of a plea deal.