Terry Gilliam has said that the #MeToo movement is a “witch hunt” and that he is tired of white men being “blamed for everything that is wrong with the world”.
In an interview with The Independent, the director and Monty Python star discussed the campaign against sexual harassment that was prompted by the dozens of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017.
Gilliam, 79, said that “there’s no room for modern masculinity”, and that he believes “we’re living in a time where there’s always somebody responsible for your failures, and I don’t like this.”
“I want people to take responsibility and not just constantly point a finger at somebody else, saying, ‘You’ve ruined my life’.”
Talking about #MeToo, which has been widely used online in recent years to highlight the prevalence of sexual misconduct in the workplace, Gilliam said that it is “a witch hunt”.
He added: “I really feel there were a lot of people, decent people, or mildly irritating people, who were getting hammered. That’s wrong. I don’t like mob mentality. These were ambitious adults.”
Of Weinstein’s alleged victims, he said that he feels sympathy for them, adding: “But then, Hollywood is full of very ambitious people who are adults and they make choices.
“We all make choices, and I could tell you who did make the choice and who didn’t.
“I hate Harvey. I had to work with him and I know the abuse, but I don’t want people saying that all men… Because on (the 1991 film) Fisher King, two producers were women. One was a really good producer, and the other was a neurotic bitch.
“It wasn’t about their sex. It was about the position of power and how people use it.”
Gilliam later said: “I understand that men have had more power longer, but I’m tired, as a white male, of being blamed for everything that is wrong with the world.”
The filmmaker, known for films including Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was criticised for his words by feminist political party The Women’s Equality Party on Twitter.
“And we’re tired of white men calling ‘witch hunt’ and refusing to examine the societal privileges that afford them so much scope to behave poorly without consequence,” they wrote.
US filmmaker Ava DuVernay re-posted one of Gilliam’s quotes and tweeted: “Poor thing.”
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, and he has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges involving two women from 2006 and 2013.
Weinstein denies all accusations of non-consensual sex.