Most Shared

The Academy expels Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski over sexual assault cases.

For the third time in less than a year, the Academy booted some members.

The Academy expels Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski over sexual assault cases.

On May 3, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that they'd voted to expel Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski.

The statement, sent in a press release, reads:

"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors met on Tuesday night (May 1) and has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization's Standards of Conduct. The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity."

Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski. Photos by Mark Makela/Getty Images, Le Segretain/Getty Images.


"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," read the Academy's Standards of Conduct. "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."

On April 26, Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault. Specifically, this was for the 2004 assault of Andrea Constand, who was then an employee at Temple University. Cosby has been accused of drugging and assaulting at least 60 women over a span of more than 50 years.

In 1977, director Roman Polanski was arrested in connection with the rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer at actor Jack Nicholson's home. Polanski fled the United States for the United Kingdom and France. For the next 40 years, Polanski would remain a fugitive, fighting extradition requests and living in Europe.

Expulsions from the Academy are extremely rare, but in the cases of Cosby and Polanski, almost certainly warranted.

Prior to Cosby and Polanski, the last member of the Academy to be expelled was producer Harvey Weinstein, who is facing an ever-increasing number of sexual harassment and assault allegations. Prior to that, the last expulsion occurred in 2004 when the Academy revoked actor Carmine Caridi's membership for selling promotional copies of films.

Weinstein (center), celebrates an Oscar win for "Shakespeare in Love," which he produced. Photo by Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images.

While Cosby was never nominated for an award by the Academy, Polanski won the Oscar for Best Director in 2002 for his film "The Pianist." Though he was unable to attend the ceremony, as he was a fugitive of U.S. law, he received thunderous applause and a standing ovation from many members of the audience at the time.

Less than 10 years ago, Polanski still had quite a bit of Hollywood support.

In 2009, more than 100 big names in Hollywood came to Polanski's defense, petitioning for his release, as he was being held after an arrest in Zurich, Switzerland. "His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals," the petition reads in part, downplaying the seriousness of his crime. The list of signatories included names both predictable (Woody Allen, for instance) and surprising, such as Asia Argento (who was one of the women allegedly assaulted by Weinstein — she later said that she regretted adding her name to this petition), Natalie Portman (who also later expressed regret over her Polanski support), Martin Scorsese, Adrian Brody, Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, Penélope Cruz, Guillermo del Toro, and more.

The decision to remove Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski is certainly a positive move on the Academy's part, but many will continue to ask what took so long and why less than 10 years ago were we all so indifferent to these types of crimes.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

Keep Reading Show less