As the allegations against Harvey Weinstein compound, Woody Allen says he's "sad" for the Hollywood tycoon. The co-founder of the Weinstein Company and Miramax has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by at least 41 women. But Allen, previously accused of sexually assaulting his adopted daughter, doesn't want to see the Weinstein cause turn into a "witch hunt."
Allen told the BBC, "The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved. Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up. There’s no winners in that."
On top of empathising with a man accused of manipulating, harassing, and sexually assaulting women for decades, Allen warned against policing every interaction men have with women in professional settings.
"You 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," he said. "That’s not right either. But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation."
However, Allen told the BBC he never heard "horror stories with any real seriousness" about Weinstein, despite working on multiple films together, and implied he didn't believe the rumours he heard. He said, "You do hear a million fanciful rumours all the time. And some turn out to be true and some — many — are just stories about this actress or that actor."
The filmmaker found himself in a similar position to the one Weinstein currently holds in 1992 and again in 2014. Allen was accused of sexually assaulting his 7-year-old adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992, but no charges were brought against him. More than a decade later, Dylan wrote an open letter published by The New York Times again accusing Allen of assaulting her as a child. Allen always denied the claims.
The red carpet for the premiere of Allen's newest movie, Wonder Wheel, was also cancelled this week amid allegations that the president of the film's distributor (Amazon Studios) sexually harassed a female producer on a different Amazon show. A movie premiere without a red carpet eliminates most press opportunities.
The sheer number of sexual harassment allegations in the past week was overwhelming, but Weinstein denies any wrongdoing. However, he said in a statement to The Times: "I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it."
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