Movie producer Bill Mechanic made some enemies when he resigned in early April from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors with a scathing letter about the organization’s failures.
The producer of “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Coraline” told me, “I’m sure there are people who hate the living daylights out of me.”
Mechanic didn’t name AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson when he said the departure “over the past seven years” of a significant number of full-time academy employees “seems more like a ‘purge’ to stifle debate.”
But the letter was seen as a parting shot at her leadership.
Mechanic wrote that the Oscars have suffered a “cataclysmic decline in ratings” because it is a “long and boring show” with too many awards, and “the fact that no popular film has won in over a decade.”
He also complained that the academy “had decided to play Moral Police” and address issues like the lack of diversity in the industry over which it has no control.
“One governor even went as far as suggesting we don’t admit a single white male to the academy, regardless of merit!” Mechanic revealed in his letter. He wouldn’t identify the governor. “Most probably someone inside the academy leaked confidential information in order to compromise the president.”
AMPAS president John Bailey was cleared of sexual harassment allegations in March, 10 days after news leaked that he was under investigation.
“I wasn’t specifically referring to anyone, since I don’t know who leaked it,” Mechanic told me. “It does seem clear it came from inside, though.”
Before Bailey was cleared, there was speculation that he would be forced to resign and that Hudson’s friend Laura Dern would replace him.
“Whoever did it weaponized the #MeToo movement, and besmirched the reputation of a guy who is 75 years old and doesn’t need this,” Mechanic, who’s 67, said.
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