Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Members of Oscars Academy Hopeful about New Code of Conduct

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Members of Oscars Academy Hopeful about New Code of Conduct

Article excerpt

Canadian members of Oscars academy welcome code of conduct

--

TORONTO - Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta always thought it was wrong that there was no code of conduct for members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body that oversees the Oscars, especially when it came to sexual misconduct.

"It was an unspoken thing that it will be tolerated, and really perhaps nobody (would) believe the women," said the writer and director of the Oscar-nominated "Water," who is an academy member herself.

"The atmosphere was one of, even though personally you might not tolerate it, there were no consequences."

That changed on Wednesday when the academy announced its first code of conduct for its 8,427 members, one that states its board may now suspend or expel those who violate the code or who "compromise the integrity" of the organization.

Mehta called it an "excellent" move that will raise awareness "that this kind of abhorrent behaviour will not be tolerated and has consequences."

"There's something that Gloria Steinem said: 'The truth will set you free, but before it does it will piss you off,' and I think that's where we are at," Mehta said from Toronto.

"It's probably pissing off a lot of men, but it's essential and I'm sorry, you have to wear it."

The code comes after the academy expelled producer Harvey Weinstein in October. It states that members must "behave ethically by upholding the academy's values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity."

"There is no place in the academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency," reads the statement.

"The academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality."

Toronto-based sound editor Jane Tattersall said a code of conduct seemed an obvious move -- but a necessary one.

"I thought, 'I hope you wouldn't tolerate this behaviour anyway, but why not be specific about it? It doesn't do you any service to not say these words, not to put in writing that this is wrong,'" said Tattersall, who became a member of the academy earlier this year.

Sexual harassment and assault allegations have been pouring out of the industry for months now, and many organizations have revisited their codes of conduct or policies surrounding the problem.

But it seemed to send a big message to many in the industry when such a storied institution explicitly released its first set of rules.

"The academy is an incredibly well respected institution and symbol of the entertainment business, of Hollywood," said Tattersall. "The fact that they're making the statement, I think, is a comment about the brand of the academy and how much they want to maintain it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.