Bill Mechanic steps down from the Academy amid inclusion row

April 19, 2018

Bill Mechanic has stepped down from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) board of governors as a protest.

The ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ producer was taken the drastic step in response to the Academy allowing itself to be “blamed for things way beyond our control and then try to do things which are not in our purview (sexual harassment, discrimination in the industry)”.

In his resignation letter, which was sent to AMPAS President John Bailey, Bill wrote: “We have settled on numeric answers to the problem of inclusion, barely recognizing that this is the Industry’s problem far, far more than it is the Academy’s.

“Instead we react to pressure. One Governor even went as far as suggesting we don’t admit a single white male to the Academy, regardless of merit!”

In the full letter, which has been obtained by Deadline, Bill also blasted the Academy for failing to do anything about the declining ratings for the Oscars.

He bemoaned that over the past decade, “we have nominated so many smaller independent films that the Oscars feel like they should be handed out in a tent”.

This comes shortly after acclaimed director Steven Spielberg revealed he doesn’t think Netflix movies deserve an Academy Award.

Spielberg argued that the film and TV streaming site should not be able to win any of the coveted golden statuettes as he believes it has committed to a “television format”.

He said: “Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.

“You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theatres for less than a week should qualify for an Academy Award nomination.”