Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke has joined the group of mainly international voices expressing their doubt about the #MeToo movement, decrying it as causing a reversion to “Puritanism.”
In an interview with Austrian daily Kurier published Friday, the two-time Palme d’Or winner was asked whether he thought there had recently been a tendency to rebuild taboos, for example as a result of the #MeToo debate. Though he said he “of course” thinks “any form of rape or coercion” is punishable, he also referred to the current movement as “prejudice hysteria” and said he finds it “disgusting.”
“I do not want to know how many of these charges related to incidents 20 or 30 years ago are primarily statements that have little to do with sexual assault,” he added.
“This new, man-hating Puritanism, coming in the wake of the #Metoo movement, worries me,” he said, referring to the “malignancy” that he said often comes across on the Internet and makes it “all the more difficult to deal with this very important topic.”
He lamented that “suspected actors” are cut out of movies and series “in order to not lose any viewer numbers.” He cited Nagisa Oshima’s “In the Realm of the Senses” as a film that would no longer be made in today’s climate “in anticipatory obedience to this terror,” yet is “one of the deepest and most profound [films] on the subject of sexuality.”
“Where do we live? In a new Middle Ages?” he asked. “Again, this has nothing to do with the fact that every sexual and every violent assault – whether against women or men – to condemn and punish, but the witch hunt should be left in the Middle Ages.”
“I can imagine what you can read on the net after this interview,” he finished. “Haneke, the male chauvinist pig.”
Haneke is best known as the director and writer of “Amour,” which received five Oscar nominations and won for best foreign language film in 2012. “Amour” also won the Palm d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, marking Haneke’s second d’Or win after 2009’s “The White Ribbon.”