Last month Titanic, Terminator, and Avatar director James Cameron had an unpopular opinion about Wonder Woman. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards,” he said, before boasting about his own strong female characters like Sarah Connor from Terminator.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Cameron, who is just starting production on his Avatar sequel, to get his reaction to the backlash his Wonder Woman comments received. Cameron is standing by them and doubling down. Check out an excerpt for the interview below.

Well, you opened the door for the inevitable Wonder Woman question, so … you recently said in this summer’s film, Gal Gadot was playing an “objectified icon.”

Yes, I’ll stand by that. I mean, she was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s. It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor — what [Sarah Connor actor Linda Hamilton] created in 1991 — was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].

Director Patty Jenkins responded by saying not every woman character has to look “hard, troubled and tough to be strong.”

Linda [Hamilton] looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated. … She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film. So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, “letting” a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman. I thought it was a good film. Period. I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is. Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I’m not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter