Over the weekend, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to expel Harvey Weinstein, who has widely been accused of sexual harassment and assault.
At the time, the decision signaled the academy’s view on sexual assault. Now members of the Academy are speaking out about what their decision will mean for the future of the organization and its members, reported ABC News.
The decision came after the 54-member board voted on the issue. The Academy Board Vice President Kathleen Kennedy, who is also Lucasfilm President, described the vote to the Associated Press on Monday night.
"Several of us were on the phone or in the room," she said. "I think the emotions were that people recognized this was an extremely important decision on the part of the Academy. And I think they made the right choice."
Kennedy, who is also an eight-time Academy Award nominee, expounded on what the expulsion might mean for future members who are accused of sexual misconduct. In the past, the Academy has seemingly turned a blind eye to sexual misconduct, most notably in the case of Roman Polanski, who was accused of raping a teenager in 1972.
"We are going to have to look at what does that mean for the future, what kind of changes, moral clause, that we need to put into the bylaws at the Academy," she said. "And then I'm sure that the next step will be that we'll start to look at some of these other people."
Laura Dern, who is both an Oscar nominee and member of the actor's branch of the board, seemed optimistic about the decision.
"The Academy is shifting. Everything is shifting."
She continued, “There are far more women involved throughout this industry," she said. "So hopefully as we move forward, more and more will shift. And there will be zero tolerance for unconscionable behavior, for abuse of power, to not only women but to men as well, in our industry and others."
In a separate interview, Dern commented that sexual harassment seemed like it was “supposed to be a prerequisite” for working in Hollywood, reported People.
“I have not spoken to one person, nor will you tonight, who hasn’t had an experience with sexual harassment in the workplace,” Dern told reporters. She was at Elle‘s Women in Hollywood red carpet on Monday night.
When the board made the decision on Saturday, they released a statement, explaining their decision. The decision followed on the heels of Weinstein’s termination from his company.
"We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over," the statement read.
Do you think there will be any shift in the way Hollywood treats women in light of this scandal? Let us know in the comments. Earlier in the day, Reese Witherspoon opened up about her own traumatizing experience with a Hollywood exec.