Producer Bill Mechanic waved goodbye to the Academy with a scorching letter addressing the “long and boring” Oscars telecast, among other issues.
Producer and former Fox chief Bill Mechanic has resigned from his post on the Academy’s Board of Governors—but not with a quick goodbye and a step to the side. Instead, Mechanic took the incendiary route, writing a lengthy letter to Academy President John Bailey and detailing all the ways the Academy has allegedly failed its members and the film community at large. He railed against the bloated length and status of the Oscars, the way inclusive membership has been handled, the response to the #MeToo movement, and the long-awaited Academy Museum, which has for years been a source of anxiety for the organization.
“I feel I have failed the organization,” Mechanic wrote, according to Variety, which posted his letter in full. “I feel we have failed the organization.”
The Academy confirmed Mechanic’s exit with a statement on Tuesday: “The Academy thanks William Mechanic for his five years of service on the board of governors, where he represented the members of the executives branch.”
Mechanic’s fiery letter shows a board member at odds with the organization he was tasked to represent. He began by writing that he had “a great love and respect for the Academy,” but realized the environment had become “fractured.” One of the first issues he addressed in the letter was the way the Academy decided to handle inclusion among its membership ranks.
“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,” he wrote. “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!”
He continued by taking aim at the Oscars telecast itself, which he claimed had yet to modernize. “We have kept to the same number of awards, which inherently means a long and boring show, and 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,” he said.