Roman Polanski calls #MeToo movement 'collective hysteria'

Expelled Director Roman Polanski Threatens Legal Action Against the Academy

Many consider Polanski's removal from the Academy to be a direct result of the #MeToo movement, which was spawned previous year by the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Polanski, who won the Academy Award for Best Director in 2003 for "The Pianist", has been in a sort of exile in Europe after fleeing the United States in 1978 after being convicted of raping a then 13-year-old girl.

"I think this is the kind of mass hysteria that occurs in society from time to time", he said. Harland Braun, his attorney, wrote a letter to the organization demanding his client be given a hearing, arguing the committee broke its own guidelines as well as California's laws in removing Polanski from its membership.

"Everyone is trying to sign up, chiefly out of fear", Polanski said.

Bill Cosby was expelled earlier this month following his conviction for sexual assault.

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His lawyer in Poland, Jan Olszewski, said the director responded to the Academy decision with "indignation" and believes it was taken in violation of Academy regulations. "I think they thought this was an easy one - an 84-year old director's not going to fight it, right?"

Not so fast. Polanski is apparently stunned that anyone would hold him to account in any fashion and is threatening to sue the academy unless they reinstate him tout de suite.

A member of his legal team said that comparing Polanski's crimes to those of Cosby was "a total misunderstanding and harassment". But the language was not quite as harsh as what they deployed when booting Harvey Weinstein back in October - a decision they reached not two weeks after the first New York Times and New Yorker investigations into his alleged violence were published.

French-Polish director Roman Polanski.

The expulsions came as Hollywood reels from the assault allegations against disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, which prompted an global uproar and encouraged legions of women to share their own experience of sexual harassment or rape under the hashtag #MeToo.

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