Roman Polanski to sue Academy?

May 10, 2018, 08:18 IST | Agencies

Roman Polanski's lawyer has asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to give him a fair hearing and "avoid an expensive lawsuit"

Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski has threatened to sue the body that runs the Oscars after he was expelled, 40 years after admitting to having sex with a minor. Polanski's lawyer has asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to give him a fair hearing and "avoid an expensive lawsuit".

The director pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and fled the US before being sentenced. That didn't stop the Academy from awarding him the Best Director Award in 2003. Bill Cosby was also kicked out of the Academy earlier this month following his conviction for sexual assault, while Harvey Weinstein was expelled last year as a result of numerous allegations of sexual assault.

Polanski's lawyer Harland Braun has written to the Academy to argue that the filmmaker's expulsion went against the Academy's own standards of conduct and Californian law. "The only thing we're asking for is a hearing, a chance to present his side," Braun told an international publication.

"What I would hope is that [the Academy's legal counsel] would say, 'Let's avoid an expensive lawsuit. Let's just start over. We'll rescind the expulsion and we'll put him on notice that we're thinking of expelling him. We'll give you the opportunity to present your case."

Braun said he had also sent the Academy a clip of Polanski receiving a standing ovation when he won the Oscar for The Pianist in 2003. He said, "When that award was given, everyone knew about the offence. It wasn't a secret. All of a sudden, they turn on him and expel him without a hearing?"

Filmmaker calls #MeToo movement 'collective hysteria'
Roman Polanski says the #MeToo movement that sheds light on sexual misconduct of powerful men in Hollywood is "collective hysteria" and "total hypocrisy." Polanski made the comment to a publication in a recent interview given just days before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stripped him of his nearly 50-year membership, citing a case in 1977 in which he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.

The interview was published this week and the footnote said it was done before the May 3 Academy decision. In his interview Polanski said that to him, #MeToo is a "collective hysteria of the kind that sometimes happens in the society." "Everyone is trying to sign up, chiefly out of fear," he said, comparing it to North Korea's public mourning for its leaders when everyone cries so much that "you can't help laughing." "To me this is total hypocrisy," he said.

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