President of the Academy accused of sexual harassment

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The Academy received three harassment claims earlier this week and opened an investigation immediately, sources close to the situation told Variety, which first broke the news of the probe today.

The Academy also replaced Casey Affleck, who settled two sexual harassment lawsuits in 2010, as the presenter of the best actress award at this year's Oscars.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is investigating three charges of sexual harassment against its president, John Bailey, that were filed Wednesday, according to a report in the trade publication Variety.

"The Academy treats any complaints confidentially to protect all parties", the group said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Harvey Weinstein, whose studio Miramax was behind hits such as "Shakespeare In Love" and "Pulp Fiction", was expelled from the Academy in October following accusations of sexual harassment and abuse by dozens of women. The Academy also set up a claims process which set forth how such allegations would be adjudicated.

It was unclear if Bailey would continue to serve as the president of the Academy or if he has been suspended during the investigation.

The organisation also insisted there would be no further statements "until the full review is completed".

Bailey did not respond to a request for comment. These committees meet at least once a year to review candidates for membership and, where applicable, to debate and approve changes to the Academy Awards Rules. "The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality".

Upon his election to a four-year term, succeeding Cheryl Boone Isaacs, there were concerns about whether a 75-year-old white man was best suited to lead the Academy at a time when it is making a push to diversify its membership.

Bailey was nominated the president of Academy in August 2017 and has made a career as a successful cinematographer, working on movies such as The Big Chill and Groundhog Day.

Berk denied the allegation, while Bailey could not immediately be contacted.