Cosby, Polanski expelled from Oscars academy

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Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski have been expelled from the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The prestigious organization, which runs the Oscars, made the announcement on Thursday.

TV star Cosby was convicted of sexual assault last month.

Director Polanski admitted statutory rape of a 13-year-old in 1977.

Producer Harvey Weinstein was kicked out last year, following numerous allegations of sexual assault.

The academy said its board members made the latest decision after a vote on Tuesday.

Polanski won a best director Oscar for The Pianist in 2003.

In a statement the academy said the board “has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organisation’s Standards of Conduct”.

“The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” it added.

Only four people are known to have been expelled in its 91-year history.

The first was actor Carmine Caridi, who had his membership revoked in 2004 after he allegedly sent confidential film preview videos to a friend which ended up online.

On social media, many people have been asking what took the academy so long to take action against Polanski, who has been honoured in the decades since he admitted to statutory rape.

The unlawful sex case against director Polanski has dragged on for more than 40 years.

Polanski admitted unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and served 42 days in prison, but later fled the US over concern that a plea bargain deal would be scrapped.

Samantha Geimar was raped by Polanski when she was 13.

He has French and Polish citizenship, and has evaded various extradition attempts by US authorities.

France, where he lives, does not extradite its own citizens.

A Polish court also rejected a US request when he was filming in Krakow in 2015.

The Swiss authorities also turned down a US warrant in 2010, after placing Polanski under house arrest for nine months.

Last year, he was picked to head the jury at the Césars, the French equivalent of the Oscars.

He stepped down after the move sparked outrage.

In April, Cosby, 80, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault, each of which carries a potential 10 years in prison.

He was on trial for drugging and assaulting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004.

It was the second time the actor had stood trial for the allegations, after an earlier jury failed to reach a verdict in 2017.

Cosby stared in sitcom The Cosby Show, which was a global hit and ran from 1984-92.

At one point, he was the highest-paid actor in the US./BBC

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