… I would keep my mouth shut and hope that people just forget about me. Polanski is the film director who pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year old minor after drugging her, and then fled abroad to escape serving his punishment. Following the recent spate of charges of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled him, along with Bill Cosby. Why it did so long after his conviction is clear. Cosby was recently found guilty for his actions and expelling him while keeping Polanski would have raised awkward questions.
You would think that Polanski would be thanking his lucky stars that he is not serving jail time. After all, he is presumably living in luxury in Europe. True, he cannot return to the US but that would seem like a small price to pay for his escape from justice, and expulsion from the Academy would be seen as trivial, especially since it refrained from doing so for 41 years. But no, it seems to have rankled and he has decided to publicly whine about his travails and in the process hit out at the #MeToo movement.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker has called the #MeToo movement a “collective hysteria of the kind that sometimes happen in society.” Polanski’s diagnosis of what is otherwise considered a galvanizing and meaningful reckoning with pervasive patterns of sexual misconduct appeared in the Polish Newsweek.
According to the Associated Press, which first flagged the Newsweek interview, Polanski also said, “Everyone is trying to sign up, chiefly out of fear.” He compared those participating in the movement and the ensuing investigations to public mourning in North Korea when leaders die: Everyone cries histrionically because “you can’t help laughing.”
“To me this is total hypocrisy,” he said.
Facing a comeuppance as his industry discovers its conscience, Polanski’s reflex unsurprisingly isn’t just to dismiss the movement entirely, but to retaliate with self-victimization, a uniting refrain of so many of the accused.
Polanski’s lawyer called the Academy’s expulsion “psychological abuse of an elderly person” for “populist goals.”
It is astounding that Polanski does not realize that he is perhaps one of the last people we want to hear pontificating about the #MeToo movement. The lack of self-awareness and sense of entitlement of these people is unbelievable.