Movie academy chief denies engaging in sexual misconduct
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The president of the motion picture academy is denying he engaged in sexual misconduct.
In a memo sent to staff of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, President John Bailey said an allegation that he attempted to touch a woman inappropriately a decade ago on a movie set is untrue.
Media reports linking him to misconduct are false and “and have served only to tarnish my 50-year career,” Bailey, a cinematographer whose credits include “Groundhog Day,” ″The Big Chill” and “As Good as It Gets,” said in the note.
A person with knowledge of the memo said it was sent to academy staff Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The academy itself has refused to acknowledge the existence of the investigation, saying that it keeps complaints confidential to protect all parties. It will not comment until reviews are completed and reported to its Board of Governors, the academy said.
“Because I know the facts, I expect they will conclude that there is no basis to take any action against me,” Bailey’s memo said. “While there have been well-documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them. I care deeply about women’s issues and support equal treatment and access for all individuals working in this profession.”
The investigation comes as the academy has sought to make the fight against sexual misconduct a central goal after the wave of revelations beginning in October that brought down producer Harvey Weinstein and spread throughout the industry.
Bailey was two months into his presidency in October when Weinstein became just the second person removed from the academy for misconduct.
At the time, Bailey said in a memo to members that the academy “can be a part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.”
The academy then adopted its first code of conduct in December, which stipulated that the academy is no place for “people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates standards of decency,” and made it easier to suspend or expel members.
Bailey was elected to a one-year term by the academy’s Board of Governors in August, succeeding Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who had held the post for the maximum of four years and was highly visible on the role. Bailey was an academy governor representing the cinematography branch for 15 years before taking on the presidency.
AP Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this report.