Academy Investigating President John Bailey Over Sexual Harassment Claims
Almost every corner of Hollywood has been shaken by claims of sexual misconduct in the months since the New York Times first exposed decades of allegations against Harvey Weinstein — and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is no exception. The organization has, like many others, taken strides to reconcile with sexual abuses in the film industry, but the latest allegations hit much closer home: Academy President John Bailey is reportedly under investigation for multiple claims of sexual harassment.
Variety reports that the Academy has launched an internal investigation into the 75-year-old Bailey, who was elected president of the organization last August. Bailey, a cinematographer whose credits include The Big Chill and Groundhog Day, is the subject of multiple sexual harassment claims. No further details have been given at this time.
Just two months into Bailey’s four-year term, the first Weinstein story broke and the dam effectively burst, with numerous women and men in the film and television industries coming forward to share stories of sexual harassment, abuse and rape at the hands of some of the industries’ most powerful players.
In the wake of these scandals, and in the midst of a powerful #MeToo movement, the Academy itself took measures to reconcile with decades of misogyny and abuse. Weinstein’s membership in the prestigious awards group was revoked. Casey Affleck, who settled a pair of sexual harassment lawsuits in 2010, was replaced as the presenter of Best Actress at the 2018 Oscars; just one year before, he won the Best Actor Oscar. The Academy also put stronger misconduct and reporting guidelines in place and established a new code of conduct for its members, who “may be disciplined or expelled for abuse, harassment or discrimination.”
On Wednesday, the Academy received three sexual harassment claims against Bailey and immediately launched an investigation. With the new reporting guidelines in place, it falls upon the Academy’s Membership and Administration Committee to review allegations. Should the initial investigation prove the claim(s) credible, the Board of Governors will move to take disciplinary action.
If and when Bailey is expelled from his post, vice president Lois Burwell — a makeup artist — will take his place.