Roman Polanski threatens lawsuit against the Academy over expulsion

Polanski's attorney, Harland Braun, wrote to the Academy arguing the move was unlawful.

LOS ANGELES: Barely a week after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Roman Polanski from its membership, the veteran filmmaker's attorney sent a letter to the organisation threatening a legal action if he is not granted a hearing.

Polanski's attorney, Harland Braun, wrote to the Academy arguing the move was unlawful and it had failed to adhere to both its own rules and California law in denying the Oscar-winning director a chance to present his own case, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"We are not here contesting the merits of the expulsion decision, but rather your organisation's blatant disregard of its own Standards of Conduct in, as well as its violations of the standards required by California Corporations Code," Braun wrote.

The Board of Governors of AMPAS met on May 1 and voted to expel Polanski, 84, and disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, who have faced sexual harassment and rape charges for years, in accordance with their Standards of Conduct.

"The only thing we're asking for is a hearing, a chance to present his side. What I would hope is that (the academy's legal counsel) would say, 'Let's avoid an expensive lawsuit. Let's just start over. We'll rescind the expulsion and we'll put him on notice that we're thinking of expelling him and we'll give you the opportunity to present your case.' "That's the only rational thing. Otherwise, we've got to go to court and get a judge to rule that the academy has to follow its own rules, which should be a no-brainer," the lawyer told The Times.

The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Polanski's threat.

The Standards of Conduct were drafted by a task force launched by the academy in October last year after media mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment and abuse.

Cosby, 80, was recently found guilty of three charges of aggravated sexual assault in a retrial brought against him by Andrea Constand.

Polanski has admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and pills in 1978 at actor Jack Nicholson's house.

He fled the US to avoid jail and continues to be a fugitive in the country though he won a best director's Oscar for his Holocaust film "The Pianist" in 2003. Someone else accepted the award on his behalf.

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