Hollywood director Terry Gilliam under fire for comparing #MeToo to 'mob rule'
The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys filmmaker said those who met with Harvey Weinstein 'knew what they were doing'
The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys director Terry Gilliam is facing backlash from Hollywood after comments he made about disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement resembling "mob rule."
Speaking to Agence France-Presse on Friday, the former Monty Python member called Weinstein a "monster" who "made so many enemies" but also opened professional doors for his victims.
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"I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn't," he told the Paris-based media outlet, while in the city directing an opera. "The ones who did knew what they were doing. These are adults, we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition."
'No intelligence anymore'
"Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that's the price you pay," he added. "Some people paid the price, other people suffered from it."
Gilliam, 77, said the mentality around #MeToo has "got silly." He said he felt sorry for Downsizing actor Matt Damon, who was heavily criticized for referring to a "culture of outrage" surrounding the movement.
"It's crazy how simplified things are becoming," said Gilliam. "There is no intelligence anymore and people seem to be frightened to say what they really think."
He added: "It's like when mob rule takes over, the mob is out there. They are carrying their torches and they are going to burn down Frankenstein's castle."
Hollywood fights back
Gilliam's comments did not sit well with a number of Hollywood heavyweights, including The Big Sick producer Judd Apatow, who called them "idiotic and dangerous."
I read it. Terry Gilliam’s comments about Harvey Weinstein are idiotic and dangerous. He wasn’t in those rooms. He doesn’t know how aggressive and violent and terrifying he was. Who is he to say it was some sort of offered deal? He should be ashamed of himself. <a href="https://t.co/pLj3V46gwu">https://t.co/pLj3V46gwu</a>—@JuddApatow
Comedian Sarah Silverman and actress Ellen Barkin, who appeared in Gilliam's 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, also spoke out.
Terry Gilliam, you talk too much. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MeToo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MeToo</a>—@EllenBarkin
Terry Gilliam may wanna turn those feelings of fear & uncertainty he’s getting from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/metoo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#metoo</a>/<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/timesup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#timesup</a> and realize “Ohh this is how life has been for THEM til now... huh. Wow. Damn.” See? Now it’s empathy.—@SarahKSilverman
No stranger to controversy
It's not the first time Gilliam has made controversial remarks about similar subject matter.
In 2016, the filmmaker posted a tweet after actress Amber Heard accused her ex-partner, Johnny Depp, of domestic abuse. Gilliam, who worked with Depp on projects including Lost in La Mancha (2002), wrote at the time: "Like many of Johnny Depp's friends, I'm discovering that Amber is a better actress than I thought."
Gilliam told Agence France-Presse Friday that when it came to his views about #MeToo, even his wife had warned him to "keep my head a bit low." But he argued abuse of power has always been pervasive in Hollywood and that "power always takes advantage."
"It's how you deal with power — people have got to take responsibility for their own selves."