Don’t expect Michael Haneke to tweet his support for #MeToo anytime soon. The two-time Palme d’Or winner criticized the movement in an interview with the Austrian Daily Kurier, saying, “I regard this hysteria of rash judgments that is spreading at the moment as absolutely disgusting.”
“People are just being finished off in the media, [their] lives and careers are being ruined,” he said. Haneke clarified that “any kind of rape or [sexual] coercion should be punished,” but things are going too far based on “totally unperceived malignance, the blind rage that is not based on facts.”
This fast-and-loose approach “destroys the lives of people, whose crime has not been proven in many cases,” he continued. “This new man-hating puritanism that comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement worries me,” and men “should hardly even touch this topic” at this point.
“This has nothing to do with the fact that every sexual and every violent assault — both against women and men — should be condemned and punished,” Haneke once again specified. That said, “a witch hunt should be left in the Middle Ages.”
Haneke is one of the most revered filmmakers of his generation, winning the top prize at Cannes for both “The White Ribbon” and “Amour,” which also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.
He isn’t the first high-profile member of the European film community to criticize the movement, as a group of French actresses including Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve recently did likewise.