Polanski takes Academy to court
Roman Polanski asked a judge Friday to restore his membership in the organization that bestows the Academy Awards nearly a year after he was expelled.
Lawyers for the 85-year-old fugitive director petitioned Los Angeles Superior Court to compel the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make him a member in good standing again.
In May, the academy made the rare move of expelling Polanski and Bill Cosby, months after ending the membership of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Polanski appealed the decision, and in January the academy rejected his appeal.
Friday’s five-page filing states that by not giving Polanski sufficient notice of his expulsion, and not giving he or his lawyer to argue his case in person during the appeal, the academy “failed to comply with its own rules, policies and regulations.”
The academy responded with a brief statement: “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate.”
The filing also alleges that the expulsion violated a California law that requires corporations to give a fair hearing before removing a member, calling it a “prejudicial abuse of discretion.” Polanski’s attorney Harland Braun said at the time that Polanski was “blindsided” by his removal, and learned of it through media reports.
Polanski, who won a Best Director Oscar for “The Pianist” in 2003, remains a fugitive after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and fleeing the United States the following year. He has been living in Europe since.