Harvey Weinstein expelled from motion picture academy


Harvey Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences  Saturday amid a barrage of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations going back decades. 

In a statement, the Academy, as it is commonly known, said “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority” of its members voted to oust Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company. 

“We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues,” read the statement from the Academy’s Board of Governors, “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 Academy held an emergency session to discuss the allegations against Weinstein, which were reported by The New Yorker and The New York Times. 

The move by the Academy, the world’s top movie organization and home to the Oscars, is almost unprecedented.

Weinstein was ousted a week ago from The Weinstein Co., which now is struggling to survive this scandal.

He has denied the accusations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Harvey Weinstein: Oscars academy to hold emergency talks


Harvey Weinstein poses on the Red Carpet after arriving at the 89th Academy Awards (Oscars) in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2017Image copyright
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Dozens of films produced by Harvey Weinstein have won Academy Awards

The hosts of the Oscars are to hold emergency talks to consider the future role of film mogul Harvey Weinstein following claims of sexual misconduct.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein were “repugnant”.

Bafta, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, has already suspended his membership.

Weinstein strongly denies the allegations against him.

In another development, police in New York told the BBC they were looking to speak to an individual regarding an allegation against Weinstein dating from 2004. The NYPD did not provide further details.

The US academy, which has handed out 81 Oscars to films produced by Weinstein’s Miramax studio and the Weinstein Company, said it would meet on Saturday to “discuss the allegations against Weinstein and any actions warranted by the academy”.

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Media captionIt was “an open secret” a producer tells the BBC

A statement has also been issued by Cannes Film Festival, which Weinstein has attended many times.

President Pierre Lescure said they have been “dismayed to learn of the accusations”.

“These actions point to a pattern of behaviour that merits only the clearest and most unequivocal condemnation.

“Our thoughts go out to the victims, to those who have had the courage to testify and to all the others. May this case help us once again to denounce all such serious and unacceptable practices.”

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Harvey Weinstein attended Cannes Film Festival at times with his wife Georgina Chapman, who has now left him

Meanwhile, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told CNN she felt “sick” about the allegations surrounding Weinstein, pledging to donate money he had raised for her campaigns to charity.

Weinstein reportedly raised more than $1.4m (£1.05m) for Democratic groups, and Republicans have accused Democrats of not doing enough to distance themselves from him.

‘Powerless and scared’

A string of high-profile actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, have come forward to accuse the movie producer of sexual harassment or assault.

British actress and model Cara Delevingne is one of the latest to accuse him of inappropriate behaviour. In a statement, she said he tried to kiss her as she tried to leave a hotel room.

“I felt very powerless and scared,” she said.

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Lea Seydoux starred in the Bond film Spectre

The French actress Léa Seydoux has written an article detailing her experience with Weinstein who she met at a fashion show.

She wrote in The Guardian about how he invited her to come to his hotel room for a drink.

“We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself. He’s big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him. I left his room, thoroughly disgusted.

“I wasn’t afraid of him, though. Because I knew what kind of man he was all along.”

On Tuesday, Weinstein denied allegations of rape made in The New Yorker magazine. On the same day, his wife Georgina Chapman said she was leaving him.

Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening said Weinstein was well known in Hollywood for being “boorish”, but that she had not known the extent of his alleged behaviour.

“I certainly didn’t know that this was going on to the degree that it was,” she told BBC News. “It’s terrible. And it’s great that these women have come forward. I really respect them. Maybe it’s a tipping point. Maybe culturally this means that things will change.”

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Media captionWatch Jez Butterworth’s message to Harvey Weinstein

On Wednesday, US prosecutors defended their decision not to take action against Weinstein after a woman complained about his behaviour in 2015.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said undercover audio of the complainant and Weinstein was “insufficient to prove a crime”.

Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, 22, had gone to police to accuse Weinstein of touching her inappropriately. She then agreed to meet the producer again while wearing a hidden microphone.

The district attorney’s office said police arranged the meeting without informing them.

“Prosecutors were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanour sex crime,” they said.

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Media captionThe New Yorker released audio of an alleged undercover sting operation by New York Police (UK users only)

They said the “horrifying” audio “was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law” which left prosecutors with “no choice but to conclude the criminal investigation without charges”.

In the recording, Weinstein can be heard asking Ms Gutierrez to come into his hotel room. The model asks the producer “why yesterday you touched my breast?” He apologises, saying he “won’t do it again”.

Weinstein’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.

“Mr Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.

“Mr Weinstein has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path.”

On Wednesday she declined to comment on reports that Weinstein was intending to travel to Europe to enter a rehabilitation facility.

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Red Bull Music Academy documentary celebrates LA’s diverse car culture



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There is no greater democracy than car enthusiasm. Even in a city as wildly diverse as Los Angeles, with millions of people cramming onto freeways every day, the culture of cars — the part we love, anyway — transcends class distinctions that would otherwise shackle some groups under piles of preconceived notions and other social strictures. Cool cars can free us from that. From Bugattis in Beverly Hills to lowrider Chevys in East L.A., the love of cars is the same for everyone. This love is celebrated in the Red Bull Music Academy-produced documentary “L.A.: Cars + Music.”

“The city’s diverse, the car culture’s diverse, this will be the first time we bring it all together,” said Victor Carillo of The ID Agency, which helped create the documentary.

The 15-minute film showcases many aspects of California car culture. There’s a segment on artist and director Estevan Oriol and his beautiful blue lowrider; one on Rod Emory, who makes Outlaw Porsches at Emory Motorsports in The Valley, and we meet Dorian Valenzuela, the JPL engineer-turned Alfa Romeo restorer, as well as a group of donut lovers who occasionally hold impromptu spinout contests in intersections in the Crenshaw District.

Estevan Oriol's Chevy lowrider

Estevan Oriol’s Chevy lowrider Photo by Estevan Oriol

Each interviewee also describes the kind of music they like to go with their cars. Oriol likes West Coast rap; Emory likes Ozzy and Led Zep, Guadalupe Rosales likes old-school oldies to go with her lowriders.

“We all love cars and music,” said Rosales. “It’s all love. We’re all together for our passion.”

“To me, it came out pretty much perfect,” Oriol said of the movie. “To show lowrider culture as a positive thing instead of a negative thing, that was wonderful.”

“It started as an idea and turned into a really cool project to unite car culture in Los Angeles,” said Carillo. “Everyone loves cars.”

The film goes live at 11:00 a.m. PST on the Red Bull Facebook page. Try this link: here.

The film was created in support of another Red Bull arts project that debuts Oct. 15, the Ryoji Ikeda A [For 100 Cars], a musical performance that will be held at the Red Bull Music Academy Los Angeles Festival on Oct. 15. In that one, artist Ryoji Ikeda will present a new composition through the sound systems of 120 cars. That will be something to see and hear. You can get tickets for that here.


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Academy Awards: Saawan is Pakistan Foreign Language Oscar Choice


Academy Awards: Saawan is Pakistan Foreign

Courtesy of Kalakar Films

Saawan,” a suspense drama set in the remote deserts, has been selected as Pakistan’s contender for the foreign-language Oscars race. The selection was announced by the Pakistan Academy Selection Committee.

Based on real events that highlight societal injustices and the failure of the feudal justice system, the film is directed and lensed by veteran film and TV director Farhan Alam. It was written and produced by U.S.-based physician Mashood Qadri, through production company Kalakar Films.

According to the producers’ online synopsis “Sawaan” is “the story of a handicapped 9-year old boy, abandoned in a desolate valley in the mountains of Balochistan. The boy is rejected by his father, intimidated by society, harassed by friends and left alone in a valley in the scorching heat to die, due to his disability. Strengthened by memories and dreams of the love of his mother, he begins a perilous journey back to his family in the main city.”

The film picked up awards at the Madrid International Film Festival, the Social World Film Festival and other events.

Other tech credits go to Indian film editor Aseem Sinha and a music score by U.S.-based Amir Isilah, making for what the producers describe is a product of co-operation between Bollywood, Hollywood and the Pakistani film industry.


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