Liam Neeson: Sexual harassment scandal has sparked ‘a bit of a witch hunt’
Liam Neeson says revelations about sexual harassment in Hollywood and the media have sparked “a bit of a witch hunt.”
In an interview with Ireland’s “The Late Late Show,” Neeson suggested some allegations are not as bad as others, mentioning former NPR personality Garrison Keillor and actor Dustin Hoffman specifically.
“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening too. There’s some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee or something and suddenly they’re being dropped from their program or something,” Neeson said.
“[Keillor] was listening to a sad story from a female friend of his and at the end of this he put his hand to her back, like this, and she had a blouse on and it was her bare back,” Neeson continued. “I don’t know what the blouse was like. He immediately took his hand away and apologized. She said, ‘Don’t worry about it, forget about it.’ “
“Months later he gets a call from a lawyer — his radio station does, Minnesota Public Radio — saying he inappropriately touched this lady and he was dropped like that,” added Neeson.
Minnesota Public Radio decided to quit distributing Keillor’s “Writer’s Almanac” program and quit re-broadcasting “A Prairie Home Companion” shows hosted by Keillor after the allegations.
Neeson said the Keillor case differed from situations involving actor Kevin Spacey, who faces more than a dozen accusations of improper conduct, including from several men who were teenagers at the time of the incidents; and film mogul Harvey Weinstein, who faces accusations over decades ranging from harassment to rape.
Neeson also described allegations against actor Dustin Hoffman as “childhood stuff.”
“I think Dustin Hoffman … I’m not saying I’ve done similar things like what he did, apparently he touched a girl’s breast and stuff, but it’s childhood stuff,” Neeson said.
The accusations against Hoffman include a charge that he masturbated in front of a woman and that he forced another woman to perform oral sex on him.
Neeson did say that the movement sweeping through Hollywood is “healthy” for the film industry.
“There is a movement happening and it’s healthy and it’s across every industry. The focus seems to be on Hollywood but it’s across every industry,” he said.
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