Oscars chief 'denies sexual harassment allegation'

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John Bailey took over the Academy in August 2017

John Bailey, the head of the organisation that runs the Oscars, has denied a sexual harassment allegation against him, it has been reported.

In a memo to staff, the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said there had been a “single named complaint”, Variety reported.

But he said the incident at the centre of the allegation “did not happen”.

He also said media reports in Hollywood trade publications referring to multiple complaints were false.

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety had reported that three claims had been made against the 75-year-old by unnamed sources.

‘False narrative’

In the memo, published by Variety, Mr Bailey said the complaint was about an alleged incident dating back more than 10 years.

He said: “I am alleged to have attempted to touch a woman inappropriately while we were both riding in a transport van on a movie set. That did not happen.”

Bailey said the Academy was undertaking a confidential review process.

He added: “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.”

He assured staff that he has always supported women during his career and has had a lot of support from colleagues.

The Academy has not commented beyond a statement made on 16 March.

“The Membership Committee reviews all complaints brought against Academy members according to our Standards of Conduct process, and after completing reviews, reports to the Board of Governors,” it said.

Bailey, a cinematographer, has worked on films including American Gigolo, The Big Chill and Groundhog Day. He was awarded the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

He was elected the Academy’s president for a four-year term in August 2017, shortly before the first high-profile allegations about Hollywood abuse emerged.

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