Academy board approves standards of conduct for members

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The board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has approved new "Standards of Conduct" to which its 8,427 members will be expected to adhere moving forward.

"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 text setting out the new code of conduct emphasizes. It also asserts, "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."

The Standards of Conduct were drafted by a "specially formed task force" led by governor David Rubin, approved by the full board at a meeting on Tuesday and emailed by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson to members Wednesday night.

Hudson noted in her email: "Over the course of weeks, the task force consulted with professors of ethics, business, philosophy, and law from Georgetown, Harvard, Notre Dame, and Stanford, as well as experts in human resources and sexual harassment. We met with our counterparts at the Television Academy and BAFTA, and, for reference, we also reviewed the codes of conduct of other organizations, including AFI, Film Independent, and UCLA."

This development comes just under eight weeks after Harvey Weinstein's Oct. 14 expulsion from the Academy following a barrage of allegations of sexual abuse, harassment and assault. Weinstein became only the second person ever expelled from the organization, and the first for reasons related to sexual abuse. At the time, many noted that others accused of sexual assault — including Roman Polanski (who pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and fled the country), Bill Cosby and Stephen Collins — still are members of the organization. Since then, similar allegations have been made against several other Academy members, most notably two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. Their futures in the Academy remain to be determined.

Hudson acknowledged in her email that the process of reviewing members' behavior has only just begun. "Much remains to be done," she wrote. "The task force will finalize procedures for handling allegations of misconduct, assuring that we can address them fairly and expeditiously. This process will ultimately guide the Board of Governors in assessing if certain allegations warrant action regarding membership. Those procedures will be sent to you in the new year."

The full text of the new Standards of Conduct for Members follows:

"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."--The Hollywood Reporter