Better late than never: Motion picture academy expels Bill Cosby -- and Roman Polanski

I understand booting Cosby, but Polanski? All he did was abscond 40 years ago to avoid charges related to screwing a 13-year-old. A 13-year-old who wanted it, per Harvey Weinstein crony Quentin Tarantino.

When exactly did Polanski lose his “child rape keeps the creative juices flowing” artistic immunity?

The Academy’s board of governors, following its new procedure for enforcing a Standards of Conduct that it adopted in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, voted to expel the comedian and the director at its most recent meeting on May 1.

“The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” the Academy said in a statement announcing their expulsion.

He’ll get to keep his Best Director Oscar for “The Pianist.” As for the timing, I think there are three reasons:

1. Polanski was convicted. If they were going to kick Cosby out due to his own conviction, by what logic would they leave Polanski a member in good standing? I myself had forgotten that Polanski actually pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 1978; he fled the country before sentencing, not before trial. The Cosby verdict sealed his fate too, it appears, by leading the Academy towards a new “‘guilty’ means you’re out” standard for inclusion. But even if Cosby had walked, they might have still ousted Polanski: Remember, they ousted Weinstein last year and he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet.

2. There are new-ish accusations against Polanski. The latest #MeToo chapters in his story were overlooked by the wider media last year amid the focus on Weinstein and other newly outed alleged serial offenders like Russell Simmons. But women have kept chiming in with horror stories about their experiences with Polanski years ago. One woman claimed in October that he molested her during a “photo shoot” when she was 10 years old, triggering a very belated LAPD investigation last fall. The same month a German actress accused Polanski of having raped her twice when she was 15. In November more women came forward alleging he had sexually abused them, with one just nine years old at the time of the incident. All in all, per The Sun, 10 different women have accused him. The 1978 episode in the U.S. alone should have been enough to make him an international pariah but there’s every reason to believe he’s a serial pedophile. People were destined to compare his record to Cosby’s and Weinstein’s once the latter two were kicked out of the Academy, so the Academy preempted the debate.

3. As a matter of pure PR, Hollywood’s treatment of Polanski over the years is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of the movie business, which is an exceedingly high bar. You can and should punish them for tolerating “open secrets” like Weinstein and Cosby for years, but Polanski is the only one of the three who was celebrated *after* admitting to his crime. He got his Best Director Oscar nearly 25 years after skipping town on the sex charge in L.A. As late as 2009, more than 100 A-listers signed a letter demanding his immediate release after he was arrested in Switzerland in connection with the L.A. case. The idea has persisted that it’s somehow “unfair” to expect Polanski to serve his time now, as if being self-exiled from the United States and no longer allowed to engage in his degeneracy here was “punishment enough” or whatever. They’ve cheered this miscreant for decades as the pedophilia accusations against him piled up. Kicking him out of the Academy is quite literally the least they can do to atone.