Roman Polanski is suing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences over their decision to remove him from their roster.
The director has been in exile for decades. He hasn't set foot in the United States since he was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Still, the director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby remained a member of the Academy until last year, when he received a letter notifying him that he was expelled from the group behind the Oscars.
Polanski cited this “unsigned letter” in his lawsuit against the Academy, obtained by The Blast, saying that he hadn't been given proper notice of his pending expulsion and wasn't granted an opportunity to defend himself. While a meeting was held to discuss Polanski's request for reconsideration, Polanski argues it happened without either him or his attorney present. Polanski accused the Academy of failing to “provide reasonable notice of any adverse action to be taken against a member, and a reasonable opportunity for the member to be heard.” He is suing the Academy for what he sees as failure to follow their own protocols with regards to expulsion and also seeking reinstatement.
Polanski was removed along with Bill Cosby for violating the Academy's standards of conduct. In a statement at the time, the organization said that both men had violated "ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity." Polanski's attorney threatened a lawsuit almost immediately, saying that they weren't questioning the expulsion but the way in which it was carried out.
"We are not here contesting the merits of the expulsion decision, but rather your organization’s blatant disregard of its own Standards of Conduct in, as well as its violations of the standards required by California Corporations Code," attorney Harland Braun wrote at the time.
The Academy still stood against Polanski in a statement responding to the suit: “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate."