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Roman Polanski labels #MeToo movement ‘total hypocrisy’

84-year-old compares movement to 16th century massacres of Protestant Christians in France

Jessica Morgan
Wednesday 09 May 2018 16:54 BST
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Disgraced Roman Polanski with expelled film producer Harvey Weinstein
Disgraced Roman Polanski with expelled film producer Harvey Weinstein (Getty)

Disgraced filmmaker Roman Polanski has criticised the #MeToo movement, labelling it "total hypocrisy" and comparing it to 16th century massacres of Protestant Christians in France.

The 84-year-old, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and fled the US before being sentenced, was thrown out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last week along with convicted sex attacker Bill Cosby.

The Oscar-winning director of Rosemary's Baby also likened #MeToo, which has seen women all over the world speak out against sexual harassment by men after a raft of allegations against powerful Hollywood figures, to McCarthyism in the US.

When asked for his views about the industry's reaction to the sexual harassment allegations, the French-born director told Newsweek Polska it was "total hypocrisy".

He said: "I think this is the kind of mass hysteria that occurs in society from time to time.

"Sometimes it's very dramatic, like the French Revolution or the St Bartholomew's Day massacre in France, or sometimes it's less bloody, like 1968 in Poland or McCarthyism in the US.

"Everyone is trying to back this movement, mainly out of fear, I think it's total hypocrisy."

The St Bartholomew's Day massacre saw as many as 70,000 Huguenots - French Calvinist Protestants - murdered by Catholic mobs across France in August 1572, while 20,000 Jews were exiled in 1968 community Poland after a state-sponsored anti-Semitic campaign was launched. Three million Jewish citizens were declared ultimate enemies of the Polish people's Republic.

Polanski, who is a dual Polish and French citizen and currently lives in France, remains a fugitive after fleeing the country in 1978 following his guilty plea to the then rape of a minor.

According to Polanski's lawyer, the Holocaust survivor is set to appeal against the Academy's expulsion.

"We want due process," his attorney Harland Braun told Vanity Fair.

"That's not asking too much of the Academy, is it? Mr Polanski was supposed to be given notice, and have 10 days to present his side.

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"It was a complete debacle in the sense that they didn't follow their own rules."

Bill Cosby, 80, who is awaiting his sentencing following his conviction for drugging and molesting a woman at his mansion in Philadelphia in January 2004, has also been kicked out.

The expulsion comes after the Academy voted to kick out Harvey Weinstein following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

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