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Oscar-Winner Michael Haneke: #MeToo ‘Witch Hunt Should Be Left in the Middle Ages’

Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Haneke has slammed the ongoing #MeToo movement in a new interview, characterizing the campaign by women who have accused prominent individuals of sexual misconduct as a “witch hunt” that should be “left in the Middle Ages.”

“This new puritanism colored by a hatred of men, arriving on the heels of the #MeToo movement, worries me,” the 75-year-old Amour director said in an interview with the Austrian news outlet Kurier.

“This hysterical pre-judgment which is spreading now, I find absolutely disgusting,” Haneke said, according to a translation by Deadline. “And I don’t want to know how many of these accusations related to incidents 20 or 30 years ago are primarily statements that have little to do with sexual assault.”

German director Michael Haneke attends the “Happy End” press conference during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2017 in Cannes, France.

Director Michael Haneke poses at the “Amour” Photocall during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2012 in Cannes, France.

The filmmaker’s comments come as more than 100 prominent individuals in media, entertainment, and politics have been accused of sexual misconduct or abuse by dozens of women in recent months.

The movement was sparked in October after a bombshell New York Times report detailed decades of allegations of serious sexual misconduct against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Haneke said during the interview that he would likely be called a “chauvinist pig” after the publication of his comments, but he continued to criticize the movement.

“Suspected actors are cut out of movies and TV series in order not to lose (audiences). Where are we living? In the new Middle Ages?” Haneke said. He went on to say that “every sexual assault” and all violence perpetrated against both women and men “should be condemned and punished.”

“But the witch hunt should be left in the Middle Ages,” the filmmaker added.

Haneke is not the only prominent figure in entertainment to condemn the #MeToo movement.

In January, actress Catherine Deneuve signed an open letter along with dozens of other women published in French newspaper Le Monde that said the campaign that had begun as a “legitimate protest against sexual violence” had turned into a form of “puritanism” that had gone too far. The letter was met with considerable backlash after its publication.

The same month, French film legend Brigitte Bardot said in an interview that many of the female accusers in the entertainment industry had been “hypocritical” in their campaign.

“Lots of actresses try to play the tease with producers to get a role. And then, so we will talk about them, they say they were harassed,” Bardot said.

Others who have pushed back against the campaign include actor Liam Neeson and filmmaker Woody Allen, both of whom described the ongoing movement as a “witch hunt.”



  1. Mary E. Wambach

    February 12, 2018 at 1:51 am

    Yet another guy who thought it was and is OK to treat women and their bodies as commodities and perks for the production and creation of performance. Of course it seems like a ‘witch-hunt’ to him and a few others: nobody said anything publicly for decades. Good thing he won’t be around for too much longer.

  2. Nola Ervin

    February 12, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    I was sexually harassed on the job by my foreman. He ended up with a split lip and a bloody nose. The next day I was called into the superintendents office and was told that other women had come to his office and said that the foreman had also harassed them over the years. The man was fired and so was I but it was worth it because it stopped him cold in his tracks. No other woman would have to suffer because of him. I didn’t wait forty years nor did I wait until it would get me on a band wagon!
    Women have responsibility in all of this too. If the first women who were assaulted by Harvey would have filed charges against him this might not have happened to the next fifty or more. All these women say they are liberated but they sure the heck don’t act like it, in fact, they act like the article said, they are in the middle ages and the ones who are heading the witch hunt are man haters. By the way, this happened to me over forty years ago and I can’t even remember the mans name.

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