The director, 81, who frequently collaborated with the studio boss on films including the Oscar-winning Mighty Aphrodite and Bullets Over Broadway, told the BBC in an interview posted online on Sunday, October 15, that “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.”
“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,” he continued.
“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen added. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up. There’s no winners in that, it’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”
As previously reported, Weinstein was fired by his own company after The New York Times published a blistering expose on October 5 that detailed three decades of sexual harassment and assault allegations against the producer.
Since then more women, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, have come forward with their own stories about Weinstein. Allen’s own son Ronan Farrow wrote a story for The New Yorker this week in which he spoke to several women including Mighty Aphrodite’s Mira Sorvino, who said the producer had sexually harassed or assaulted them.
On Saturday, October 14, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which holds the Oscars, revoked Weinstein’s lifetime membership.
Allen told the BBC that he hoped the revelations would lead to “some amelioration,” but added, “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.”
“But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation.”
Allen himself has been the focus of a sex scandal. He split from actress Mia Farrow in 1992 after she discovered he was having an affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. The Rosemary’s Baby actress subsequently accused Allen of molesting his adopted daughter, Dylan — something that he has denied.
Allen’s response to the Weinstein scandal lit up Twitter on Sunday, with several people criticizing the director for commenting and using the phrase “witch hunt.”
“It wouldn’t be a ‘witch hunt’ anyway, Woody Allen, it would be a rapist hunt,” one person tweeted. “Stop insulting witches.”
“The fact that Woody Allen felt safe expressing his opinion on this tells you all you need to know about how society protects predators,” another wrote.
Weinstein has insisted that any sexual contacts he had were consensual and his lawyer Charles Harder threatened to sue the New York Times for $50 million, but on Sunday, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the attorney has left Weinstein’s legal team without filing suit.
The NYPD and London police have both opened investigations into allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein, who headed to Europe for treatment for sex addiction earlier this week.
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