The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today approved the next phase in its Standards of Conduct initiative. In an email to the membership, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson forwarded instructions on how individuals may report claims of workplace misconduct in violation of AMPAS standards. “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,” she wrote. “The process will determine whether a claim will be brought to the Board for possible action regarding membership status.”

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In October, the Academy’s board took the rare step of expelling Harvey Weinstein after numerous sexual assault claims were lodged against him in reports in the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine. This new Academy initiative was launched shortly afterwards , with Hudson detailing the process in weighing their options in order to create the new document for members.  In the document the Academy gives members direct instructions on how to file a claim of misconduct  and lists requirements for evidence that must be presented including (1) that the violation was witnessed by others;

Oscars Harvey Weinstein
REX/Shutterstock

(2) reported at the time; (3) memorialized in writing at the time; (4) part of an established pattern by the member; (5) or if following the violation the claimant experienced verifiable changes in their mental, physical or emotional well being.  The mission is clearly stated near the top of the Academy’s new code: “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.”

Whether this opens the floodgates for members to turn in other members remains to be seen. Some AMPAS members have openly questioned  whether,  since expelling Weinstein , the same thing could happen to others like Roman Polanski or Bill Cosby. These things can be a slippery slope but today the Academy took the initiative to give it further definition and clarity.

Here is Hudson’s letter to members followed by the Standards Of Conduct, and Process For Submitting Claims Of 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. 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.

If you have questions, please reach out to our Membership Department at membership@oscars.org or 310.247.3001.

All best,
Dawn Hudson
Academy CEO

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
AND
PROCESS FOR SUBMITTING CLAIMS
OF MISCONDUCT
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT FOR
MEMBERS::
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.
PROCESSSS FOR SSUBMIITTIING CLAIIMSS OF
MIISSCONDUCT::
The Academy’s Board of Governors may take any
action regarding a member’s status, as authorized under
Academy bylaws. The Academy may be notified of an
alleged violation of its Standards of Conduct through a
claims process, which will be fair, prompt and impartial
for both the claimant and the subject of the
claim. While the Academy does not initiate
investigations, substantiated claims regarding a
member’s conduct, based on firsthand observation or
experience, will be guided by the following process:
1. Written claims may be submitted using an online
form linked to a secure website available on Oscars.org
(currently in development – launching summer 2018).
2. A telephone claim will be taken by the Academy’s
Membership Department (310.247.3001) provided
that the claimant permits it to be recorded in order to
ensure accuracy. However, the Academy may require a
claim be made in writing before processing further.
3. The claimant’s allegations must be substantiated
by clear evidence of behavior that
violates the Academy’s Standards of Conduct. Such
substantiation could include any of the following
evidence: 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
the violation, the claimant experienced verifiable
changes in their mental, emotional or physical wellbeing.
Qualifying claims will be forwarded by the Membership
Department to the Academy’s Membership and
Administration Committee.
4. The Academy will protect the confidentiality of
claims to the extent possible.
5. When claims are brought to the Membership and
Administration Committee for review, the committee
may:
a. Decide to take no action.
b. Notify the subject of the claim in writing, at the
member’s current address on file with the
Membership Department, and provide the
member with an opportunity to respond in writing
within 10 business days.
6. Once the subject of a claim has been notified, and
the time frame for response has passed, the
Membership and Administration Committee will
review the full complaint in a timely manner and may:
a. Decide to take no action.
b. Inform the Board of remedial measures that
don’t require Board approval.
or
c. If the matter is deemed serious
enough, refer it to the Board of Governors. Only
the Board can make the final determination on
whether to suspend or expel a member.
7. The member and claimant will be informed in writing
of any final decision of the Committee or the Board.
The member shall be entitled to appeal the decision,
within 10 business days, in writing to the Board c/o the
Academy’s President or Secretary.
8. 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.
CONTACT MEMBERSHIP
© 2018