Liam Neeson Says Sexual Misconduct Allegations Have Turned into 'a Bit of a Witch-Hunt'
Sharing his thoughts on the wave of sexual misconduct allegations being made against powerful men in Hollywood, Liam Neeson said that although overall he thought the #MeToo moment was “healthy,” he also thought it had resulted in “a bit of a witch hunt.”
Neeson, 65, was asked about the topic during an interview on the Irish talk show The Late Late Show.
“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,” he added, before specifically bringing up Garrison Keillor, former host of A Prairie Home Companion, who was let go from his job at the Minnesota Public Radio last year over an allegation of inappropriate behavior.
At the time, Keillor commented on the allegation to in an email to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, saying that although he denied any wrongdoing, he believed the incident occurred when he accidentally “put my hand on a woman’s bare back.”
“I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called,” he added.
The Taken actor went on to say that the allegation made against Keillor was different than the “other Harvey Weinstein stuff.”
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The 65-year-old actor also said he was “on the fence” regarding sexual misconduct allegations made against Dustin Hoffman, who has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by multiple women.
Elaborating on why he wasn’t sure what to think about the allegations made against Hoffman, Neeson said, “when you’re doing a play, and you’re with your family, other actors, you do silly things.”
“And it becomes superstitious. If you don’t do it every night, you think it’s gonna jinx the show,” he added, before quickly pointing out that he had not done “similar things” during his career.
Neeson’s rep was unable to respond to a request for comment.
In one of the allegations made against Hoffman, Kathryn Rossetter — who shared the stage with the actor during the 1983 Broadway production of Death of a Salesman — claimed Hoffman fondled her every night backstage before one of her biggest scenes.
“It eroded my self-confidence and my dignity,” Rossetter told NBC Nightly News‘ Cynthia McFadden. “It was humiliating and demeanin … He robbed me of the joy of that experience.”
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And Neeson isn’t the only celebrity to call the anti-sexual harassment movement a “witch-hunt.”
On Tuesday, French actress Catherine Deneuve has signed an open letter — which was signed by nearly 100 actresses, writers, and academics and published in the French newspaper Le Monde — slamming the #MeToo anti-harassment movement for forcing a “wave of purification.”
“Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not – nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack,” the letter reads, according to The Guardian. “Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss.”
The controversial letter comes as the Time’s Up movement continues to grow. With more than 300 figures in the entertainment industry signed on (including Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera and Nicole Kidman), the initiative aims to fight sexual harassment, assault and inequality for women in all kinds of workplaces.