Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Awards, John Bailey, nsfs, THR Online, USA

Academy President Breaks Silence: Harassment Claims Are “False”


“While there have been well documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them,” John Bailey wrote in a letter to Academy staff.

After lawyering up earlier this week, Academy president John Bailey has broken his silence about a sexual misconduct investigation into his past behavior in a memo to Academy staff. 

Bailey’s memo, sent Saturday, called the media reports “false” and said they “have served only to tarnish my 50 year career.” Later in the letter, he specifies the allegations, saying that there was a “single named complaint” involving inappropriate touching while on a transport van on a movie set. Bailey categorically denies the claim, saying “That did not happen.”

Bailey then cited the Academy’s new standards of conduct for members, instituted in December. “The fact that the existence of an allegation even became public thwarts the confidential review process that the Academy adopted and is supposed to follow when receiving complaints,” he wrote.

The cinematographer also expressed confidence that the review process would exonerate him from the allegations. “While there have been well documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them,” he wrote.

An Academy subcommittee led by David Rubin began investigating the claims in mid-March. The Academy did not comment on the investigation, as per their review process, which rules the organization may comment following a completed investigation.

Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Bailey had hired Attorney David Schindler of L.A.-based Latham & Watkins to fight the allegations.

Bailey, an award-winning cinematographer on films like The Big Chill and Ordinary People, has been with the Academy for 15 years. He was elected the president to follow the previous person in the post, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, last August.

Read the full letter below.

Dear staff:

I have refrained from comment on the various media accounts about me of the past several days because I wanted to allow the Academy process to play out. However, in light of several repeated false stories, I feel compelled to set the record straight with those of you who work side by side with me on behalf of the Academy. The media reports describing multiple complaints made to the Academy about me are false and have served only to tarnish my 50 year career.

The fact that the existence of an allegation even became public thwarts the confidential review process that the Academy adopted and is supposed to follow when receiving complaints.

There was a single named complaint regarding an allegation dating back more than a decade ago in which I am alleged to have to attempted to touch a woman inappropriately while we were both riding in a transport van on a movie set. That did not happen.

I have supported women throughout my career and am heartened by the outpouring of support I have received from numerous women with whom I have worked and supported during my career

While I cannot undo the damage of having a false narrative leaked to the press I expect the committee will undertake its obligation to review this matter faithfully. Because I know the facts, I expect they will conclude that there is no basis to take any action against me. 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. I am proud to serve as President of the Academy and am committed to carrying on the important work the board elected me to do.



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