The director, who pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, told Newsweek Polska that the movement highlighting sexual violence in workplaces around the world is “collective hysteria,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday. Polanski argued that people are embracing the Me Too movement “chiefly out of fear.” According to the AP, he “compared it to North Korea’s public mourning for its leaders that is so intensive that ‘you can’t stop laughing.’”
Polanski gave the interview a few days before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which administers the Oscars, expelled him and comedian Bill Cosby, after the latter was convicted in April for sexual assault. The interview was published this week.
The 84-year-old has resided in France since he fled the U.S. after pleading guilty to raping then-13-year-old Samantha Geimer. Polanski has also been accused of sexual assault by several other women. Some of those incidents allegedly occurred when the accusers were minors.
Polanski won an Oscar for best director for his 2002 film “The Pianist.” Although the Academy has revoked Polanski’s 50-year membership, the organization told HuffPost it’s allowing him to keep his Oscar.