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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Oscars chief being investigated for sexual harassment

The Academy has opened an investigation after three harassment claims have been made against John Bailey 

Motion Picture Academy President John Bailey is being investigated after allegations of sexual harassment. Reuters
Motion Picture Academy President John Bailey is being investigated after allegations of sexual harassment. Reuters

The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body which hands out the Oscars, is being investigated for sexual harassment, US media reported on Friday.

The trade publication Variety and CBS News said the Academy immediately opened an investigation after receiving three harassment claims against John Bailey on Wednesday.

In response, the Academy issued a statement saying that it "treats any complaints confidentially to protect all parties."

The group's membership committee "reviews all complaints brought against Academy members according to our Standards of Conduct process, and after completing reviews, reports to the Board of Governors."

It added: "We will not comment further on such matters until the full review is completed."

In December, the Academy adopted a code of conduct for its members.

Bailey, 75, a cinematographer whose credits include Groundhog Day and The Big Chill, was elected to a four-year term as head of the Academy in August.

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He followed Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African-American woman who had led the charge to increase racial diversity in the Academy. Her tenure included dealing with the social media-driven #OscarsSoWhite campaign and accusations of racism within the Academy.

Bailey's brief tenure has been marked by the birth of the #MeToo movement started by actress Alyssa Milano and which went global, highlighting accusations of sexual abuse.

Harvey Weinstein, whose studio Miramax was behind hits such as Shakespeare In Love and Pulp Fiction, was expelled from the Academy in October following accusations of sexual harassment and abuse by dozens of women.

At a February lunch for this year's Oscar nominees, Bailey promised the Academy would adopt a "greater awareness and responsibility in balancing gender, race, ethnicity, and religion."

"The fossilised bedrock of many of Hollywood's worst abuses are being jackhammered into oblivion," he said.

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