Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski says the #MeToo movement, which calls attention to the sexual misconduct of powerful men in Hollywood, is ‚Äútotal hypocrisy‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúcollective hysteria.‚ÄĚ
In a comment made to the Polish edition of Newsweek, Polanski revealed he believes people who back the movement are doing so out of fear, and likened it to the French Revolution and the St. Bartholemew‚Äôs Day Massacre in France.
‚ÄúI think this is the kind of mass hysteria that occurs in society from time to time,‚ÄĚ he said.
Last week Polanski was in Poland to promote his latest film, Based on a True Story, at the Netia Off Camera Film Festival in Krakow, where he grew up.
While there, the 84-year-old director made these comments just days before he, along with actor Bill Cosby, were both stripped of their memberships from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy cited a case from 1977 in which Polanski pleaded guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.
He originally pleaded not guilty but later agreed to a plea deal that left him with just one charge. The Paris-born Holocaust survivor then fled the U.S. hours before his sentencing and has been allowed to live in France because of his dual Polish and French citizenships.
Following his expulsion from the Academy, Polanski threatened to sue Oscar organizers, whose actions he believes went against their own standards of conduct and Californian law.
‚ÄúThe only thing we‚Äôre asking for is a hearing, a chance to present his side,‚ÄĚ Polanski‚Äôs lawyer, Harland Braun, told the Los Angeles Times.
‚ÄúWhat I would hope is that [the Academy‚Äôs legal counsel] would say, ‚ÄėLet‚Äôs avoid an expensive lawsuit. Let‚Äôs just start over. We‚Äôll rescind the expulsion and we‚Äôll put him on notice that we‚Äôre thinking of expelling him and we‚Äôll give you the opportunity to present your case.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
This, Braun said, is the ‚Äúonly rational thing.‚ÄĚ Otherwise, he says they will go to court.
In 2003, Polanski won the best director Oscar for his film, The Pianist (2003). Although he wasn‚Äôt there to receive the award, the audience gave him a standing ovation in his absence.
‚ÄúWhen the award was given, everyone knew about the offence,‚ÄĚ Braun said. ‚ÄúIt wasn‚Äôt a secret. And all of the sudden, they turn on him and expel him without a hearing? I think they thought this was an easy one ‚Äď an 84-year old director‚Äôs not going to fight it, right?‚ÄĚ
Polanksi, who had been an Academy member for nearly 50 years, told Newsweek that his expulsion was the ‚Äúheight of hypocrisy.‚ÄĚ¬†~Caitlyn Clancey