Patrick Harrisonthe Academy of the longtime top executive of New York’s Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has been fired by the organization, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Harrison’s departure was communicated to the Academy’s approximately 1,000 Tri-State area members in an email sent by the Academy’s CEO last Friday. Bill Kramer and chairman Janet Yang. The official began his career in 1991 as an assistant to the Executive Administrator of the Academy and left in 1995 to work on awards campaigns at Miramax. He then returned to the Academy in February 2001, serving as Director of Programs and Memberships in New York until July 2022 when he was promoted to VP Member Relations and Global Outreach.
“Since we met with you in October, there have been some changes in the Tri-State operation,” Kramer and Yang’s post acknowledged. “As some of you know, Roger [Mancusi, Harrison’s deputy] left the Academy in the fall and Patrick is on leave. We are writing to let everyone know that Patrick has now left the Academy. We thank Patrick for his work, contributions and efforts and wish him well.”
On a Friday morning Zoom call scheduled ahead of last week’s email, Kramer and Yang were joined by dozens of Tri-State members in response to a number of other concerns raised in recent months. An Oscar-winning screenwriter was present at the meeting Jeffrey Fletcheractress Dana Ivy and publicist Donna Dickmanas well as the directors of the Academy Donna Gigliotti of the Executive Branch (also a Vice President of the Academy and its Secretary) and Wyn Thomas of the production designers department (also a vice president of the Academy). The departure of Harrison, a popular figure among members after 22 years as their main point of contact within the Academy and the moderator of most of their post-screening Q&As, was a major topic of discussion.
Some members expressed dismay at the lack of transparency regarding Harrison’s “disappearance” in recent months. Kramer said he was and remains limited in what he can share – “It’s in the hands of HR” – while Yang acknowledged: “Things weren’t handled as well as they could have been, but you will see positive change.”
Harrison did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition, some members complained that during Harrison’s absence, Tri-State operations were overseen by LA-based academy officials—primarily SVP member relationships and global reach. Dilcia Barrera and evp member relations and awards Shawn Finn – who they think are not very familiar with their concerns.
For example, members are frustrated with the Academy’s lack of a central “home” in New York. From 2002 through 2015, the Lighthouse International organization leased part of a building at 111 East 59th Street that included a 220-seat theater and housed Harrison and Mancusi’s offices. But since the Academy was replaced by the sale of that property in 2015, members have had no set space to congregate, bouncing between MoMA’s screening rooms (which are particularly expensive to rent and which serve members of the sound and VFX department have found to be missing) and the Dolby 24 and Dolby 88 movie theaters (which can accommodate far fewer attendees).
Last week’s email from Kramer and Yang to Tri-State members announced that the Academy is “on the hunt for additional spaces” for screenings, given that “more than 50 percent of our Tri-State members in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and NJ,” the Academy had recently signed a deal with Spring Place, a “multipurpose space used by the film, art, and fashion communities” in Tribeca. This location will serve as a new base for the Academy staff who will eventually replace Harrison and Mancusi and a space for member meetings and gatherings, as well as an upcoming Academy-sponsored event scheduled for the Tribeca Film Festival. (The Academy also recently hosted an Oscar night viewing party for its Tri-State members at the Spring Place location, which some members complained was a downgrade from past editions held in the Rainbow Room atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza downtown. .)
Some members say they wish they had a broader cross-section of them — rather than a small “New York leadership committee,” including governors of documentary departments. Chris Hegedus And Jean Tsien — had been consulted prior to closing that deal. They noted that they are very concerned about safety, as the part of Tribeca where Spring Place is located is mostly deserted at night, with only occasional access to public transportation.
On Friday’s Zoom call, Kramer and Yang clarified that none of these arrangements are irreversible, indicating that efforts are currently underway to fill the positions previously held by Harrison and Mancusi with others who are in New York. are located. They also noted that the New York-based team at the Academy’s PR firm, Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis, will work with Barrera and Finnie in the meantime to ensure members’ needs are met. Kramer added that he will come to New York on April 23 to meet personally with Tri-State members who wish to speak with him.
Reached for comment by THRKramer said, “Our community in the New York area is incredibly important to the Academy. We listen to our members’ concerns and are committed to continuing these conversations and making important and necessary changes. We also recognize that we need to revitalize our leadership committee in New York and have more consistent communication with our New York members. We are expanding our New York presence, reinstated screenings and events, and secured a new meeting space. In addition, we have begun re-staffing the New York office to create more spaces for our members to come together and celebrate film as part of our global Academy community.”