Art and design

Books

Culture

Environment

Fashion

Film

Life and style

Money

Music

Politics

Science

Technology

Travel

Television

US news

World news

Liam Neeson says harassment allegations are now 'a witch-hunt'

Liam Neeson: ‘there’s famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee and suddenly they’re being dropped’.
Liam Neeson: ‘there’s famous people, being accused of touching some girl’s knee and suddenly they’re being dropped’. Photograph: Laura Hutton/PA

Liam Neeson has described the wave of sexual misconduct allegations that have swept the entertainment industry as “a bit of a witch-hunt” and appeared to dismiss breast groping as “childhood stuff” in an interview on Irish television.

Speaking on The Late Late Show on RTE, the Hollywood A-lister said “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”.

The French actor Catherine Deneuve drew sharp criticism this week when she also used the term “witch-hunt” to describe the chain of events since allegations of serial sexual assault were made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

Asked what he thought of the sweep of allegations in his industry, Neeson said: “It’s a bit of a witch-hunt.”

Neeson, one of Hollywood’s most bankable and respected stars, referred to the recent case of the writer and broadcaster Garrison Keillor to illustrate his point.

Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio late last year over allegations of “inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him”.

Neither MPR nor Keillor’s accuser publicly disclosed the details of the allegations that led to his dismissal..

In The Late Late Show interview, Neeson echoed Keillor’s version of the events that led to the allegations against him, which framed them as a well-intentioned misunderstanding.

Keillor told a local newspaper following his dismissal: “I 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 ... We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”

Asked how he felt about Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, actors who have been accused of multiple counts of sexual misconduct, Neeson said he was “on the fence” about allegations against Hoffman, saying that what he had been accused of was “childhood stuff”.

Discussing the allegations against Hoffman, Neeson said, “when you’re doing a play and you’re with your family – other actors, technicians – you do silly things ... and it becomes kind of superstitious, if you don’t do it every night you think it’s going to jinx the show”.

Dustin Hoffman has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, of exposing himself to a minor and of sexual harassment.

Neeson was quick to distance himself from Hoffman’s alleged behaviour, saying: “I’m not saying I’ve done similar things to what he’s done.”

This article titled "Liam Neeson says harassment allegations are now 'a witch-hunt'" was written by Anna Livsey, for theguardian.com on Saturday 13 January 2018 10.34am

Film

Museum review – Gael Garcia Bernal's student waster ballasts fun Mexican heist movie

A deeply preposterous event from modern Mexican history has been turned into a watchable and… Read more

Seen it all before? The Shape of Water and claims of movie plagiarism

If Dorothy Parker is to be believed, the only “ism” that Hollywood holds dear is plagiarism. And,… Read more

Number of female Hollywood leads fell in 2017, study shows

The number of female protagonists on the big screen was down five percentage points in 2017,… Read more

After Black Panther: can Hollywood maintain black visibility on screen?

The Black Panther’s blockbuster coronation is now complete. This past weekend, Marvel’s latest… Read more

Karen Gillan: ‘I’m living with a consistent, subtle homesickness’

Karen Gillan enters the restaurant in downtown Manhattan, tall and slightly ungainly, with the high… Read more

I, Tonya review – Margot Robbie superbly uninhibited as reviled ice-skater

I, Tonya is a bleakly hilarious tale of absolute unrepentance. It’s based on the true story of US… Read more

Why I, Tonya is a game changer in the world of female sports movies

If Tonya Harding had been no more than the first female ice skater to land two triple axels in… Read more

The Ice King review – engaging doc celebrates figure skater John Curry

The current Winter Olympics is the most open about LGBT athletes in its history, which makes this a… Read more

Mute review – Duncan Jones's sci-fi thriller is a Netflix disaster

If one were to relax one’s eyes and stand very far away, the career of Duncan Jones might begin to… Read more

Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep blast Harvey Weinstein for use of statements in lawsuit

Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein after the Hollywood… Read more