“When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man,” Allen said in a new statement to Variety. “I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”
On Sunday, Allen received backlash after he said he was “sad” for everyone involved in the Weinstein scandal.
“Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up,” Allen, 81, told the BBC in an interview published on Sunday. “There’s no winners in that, it’s just very, very sad and tragic for these poor women that had to go through that.”
Allen — who worked with Weinstein on a number of films throughout his career, including the Oscar-winning 1995 film Mighty Aphrodite — went on to say that although he heard some “rumors,” he wasn’t privy to “horror stories” about the producer.
“No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness. And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie,” Allen said. “But you do hear a million fanciful rumors all the time. And some turn out to be true and some — many — are just stories about this actress or that actor.”
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The filmmaker — who has long faced controversy over allegations he sexually assaulted his adopted daughter with ex Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, which he has consistently denied — went on to say that although he hopes there will be “some amelioration” following the accusations against Weinstein, he doesn’t want the situation to turn into a “witch hunt atmosphere.”
“You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either,” Allen added. “But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation.”
Some took offense to Allen’s comments. Wrote Twitter user Melissa McEwan, “It is physically impossible for me to care any less what Woody Allen has to say about Harvey Weinstein.”
Allen’s latest film, Wonder Wheel, premiered at the New York Film Festival on Saturday night to much less fanfare in the wake of further sexual misconduct allegations against the film’s distributor’s —Amazon Studios — programming chief, Roy Price. The Wonder Wheel red carpet was canceled by Amazon Studios, according to Variety. On Friday, producer of Amazon hit Man In High Castle, Isa Hacket, told The Hollywood Reporter that Price had harassed her during the 2015 Comic-Con.
Following THR‘s story Amazon Studios announced Price was going on a leave of absence effective immediately. Price, through a spokesperson, declined to comment to THR.
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Weinstein’s scandal began when eight women, including Ashley Judd, spoke out against him in a bombshell New York Times report published Oct. 5., where they accused the mogul of sexual misconduct. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan, who later claimed that the producer had raped her.
Following the initial report, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to “deal with this issue head-on.” He has since been fired from his powerhouse studio, the Weinstein Company, kicked out of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she’s leaving him.
In response to the lengthy allegations, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
On Tuesday, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie added their own accounts of alleged mistreatment — Paltrow alleging to the NYT that Weinstein sexually harassed her in a hotel room when she was 22 and Jolie claiming to the outlet that she had a “bad experience” with Weinstein in a hotel room during the release of Playing by Heart in the late ’90s.
Also that day, in an expose written by Ronan Farrow — who is Allen’s estranged son with Mia Farrow — The New Yorker revealed that Weinstein allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on Italian actress Asia Argento two decades ago, among 13 different women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment, assault or rape. Actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette also claimed that after rejecting Weinstein’s unwanted advances, they were removed from or kept from being hired for projects.
Weinstein spoke to cameras on Wednesday while leaving his daughter’s Los Angeles house, saying he was “not doing okay” and hoping for a “second chance” amid the allegations.
A source confirmed to PEOPLE that the 65-year-old had flown out of Los Angeles to a luxury resort.