Austrian director Michael Haneke recently said the spreading of the #MeToo movement has become a "witch hunt" that he called "hysterical pre-judgment" and is "absolutely disgusting."
The Oscar and double Palme d’Or winner stressed that “any form of rape or coercion is punishable," but "the witch hunt should be left in the Middle Ages,” he told Kurier, an Austrian newspaper.
Haneke said he's concerned that the "new puritanism colored by a hatred of men" is disturbing, The Guardian reported. The European filmmaker admitted his views might be unpopular, and some may now refer to him as “Haneke, the male chauvinist pig.”
Others, such as French actress Catherine Deneuve, who've expressed similar viewpoints, have faced a backlash from feminists.
Haneke said he wonders how many of the newly reported allegations dating back 20 to 30 years are "primarily statements that have little to do with sexual assault."
The news of these "revelations poisons the social climate" making this "very important subject even more difficult," he said.
“The blind rage that’s not based on facts and the prejudices that destroy the lives of people whose crime has not been proved in numerous cases. People are simply assassinated in the media, ruining lives and careers,” Haneke said. "The malignancy that hits you on the internet often stifles you."
The accusations against celebrities, that are often denied or left unproven, can destroy careers.
“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.