Sexual harassment and assault

Terry Gilliam blasts #MeToo movement as ‘mob rule’, says a night with Harvey Weinstein is the price actresses paid for success

‘Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey – that’s the price you pay,’ Gilliam said

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2018, 3:06am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2018, 1:05pm

Film director Terry Gilliam has come under fire from Hollywood actors and directors for comparing the #MeToo movement to “mob rule” and saying that “a night with Harvey [Weinstein]” is a “price” some actresses had to pay for his favour.

The former Monty Python’s Flying Circus member suggested the anti-sexual harassment campaign had led to a “world of victims” in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

While describing Weinstein as a “monster”, he added that the disgraced producer was only exposed because he was such an “asshole”.

Gilliam, whose films include  Brazil and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, said: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey – that’s the price you pay.

“I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t. The ones who did, knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition.”

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He continued: “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. It’s crazy how simplified things are becoming.”

Judd Apatow, who has directed films including The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Trainwreck, described Gilliam’s comments as “idiotic and dangerous”.

“He wasn’t in those rooms. He doesn’t know how aggressive and violent and terrifying he [Weinstein] was. Who is he to say it was some sort of offered deal? He should be ashamed of himself,” Apatow tweeted.

“I think Terry Gilliam is spewing nonsense. These were not transactions. His comments about that aspect of this are shameful.”

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His comments were retweeted by the actor Rosanna Arquette, while the comedian Sarah Silverman called on the 77-year-old Gilliam to understand empathy.

“Terry Gilliam may wanna turn those feelings of fear & uncertainty he’s getting from #metoo/#timesup and realise ‘Ohh this is how life has been for THEM til now... huh. Wow. Damn.’ See? Now it’s empathy.”

She also likened that Gilliam’s contributions to Monty Python to being “somewhere between Pete Best and Ringo” in The Beatles, adding: “You can still love Monty Python those guys are awesome.”

The actor Ellen Barkin tweeted: “Terry Gilliam, you talk too much”, and said the interview “turns my stomach”.

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Gilliam also told AFP that power had always been abused in the film world. “I don’t think Hollywood will change,” he said. “Power takes advantage, it always does.”

He added that the great irony was that despite the #MeToo movement being in full flow, “a self-confessed pussy-grabber is the president of the US and is just walking around” unchallenged.