When the 2018 Oscars opened up on Sunday night, host Jimmy Kimmel brought up the fact that Harvey Weinstein had been kicked out of the Academy after sexual assault allegations against him spread like wildfire last year. But Kimmel also said Weinstein wasn’t the first to lose his coveted spot, and as it turns out, he wasn’t kidding — despite the fact that the story he told seemed too funny to be true. In fact, The Godfather actor Carmine Caridi got kicked out of the Academy for sharing screeners in 2004, because that’s something Hollywood takes incredibly seriously.
According to an interview Caridi, now 84 years old, gave to The Hollywood Reporter last year, he used to share his VHS Oscars screeners — and not just with his family. Caridi said that he would pass his screeners on to actor and film pirate Russell Sprague, who would copy the screeners and then send them back. And then, the jig was up.
Carmine Caridi narrowly escaped prison by naming Sprague when the FBI asked, and in February of that year, the Academy officially kicked him out.
He did end up facing a $300,000 lawsuit from Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros., which means being removed from the Academy was just the beginning of the consequences he had to deal with.
Let this be a lesson to you, Hollywood: the Academy is not messing around. Pirates never win!