Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski says the #MeToo movement that sheds light on sexual misconduct of powerful men in Hollywood is "collective hysteria" and "total hypocrisy."
Polanski made the comment to the Polish edition of Newsweek in a recent interview given just days before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stripped him of his nearly 50-year membership, citing a case in 1977 in which he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.
The interview was published this week and the footnote said it was done before the May 3 Academy decision.
In his interview Polanski said that to him, #MeToo is a "collective hysteria of the kind that sometimes happens in the society."
"Everyone is trying to sign up, chiefly out of fear," he said, comparing it to North Korea's public mourning for its leaders when everyone cries so much that "you can't help laughing."
"To me this is total hypocrisy," he said, but did not elaborate.
He was in Poland last week promoting his latest movie, "Based on a True Story," at a film festival in Krakow, where he grew up.
Polanski's lawyer in Poland, Jan Olszewski, said the director responded to the Academy decision with "indignation" and believes it was taken in violation of Academy regulations. He said there was no explanation of the reasons and no right of defense.
Olszewski told The Associated Press that stripping Polanski of his Academy membership bore signs of "psychological abuse of an elderly person" for "populist goals."
A Paris-born Holocaust survivor, Polanski won an Academy Award in 2003 for directing "The Pianist" and was also nominated for 1974's "Chinatown" and 1979's "Tess."
He remains a fugitive after fleeing the United States in 1978 over the unlawful sex case.