Friday 20 July 2018

'There is a bit of a witch hunt happening' - Liam Neeson on some of the allegations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood

Liam Neeson on The Late Late Show
Liam Neeson on The Late Late Show
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Liam Neeson has said that there is a "witch hunt" happening in Hollywood in relation to some of the sexual misconduct allegations surfacing in recent weeks and months.

The Hollywood actor was in studio with Ryan Tubridy on Friday Night's Late Late Show to talk about his latest action flick The Commuter when he made the remarks.

Asked about the wave of sexual harassment allegations against high profile men in Hollywood, he said, "There is a bit of a witch hunt happening too.  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 programme or something."

He referred to radio presenter and writer Garrison Keillor who was dropped by Minnesota Public Radio last year after allegations of "inappropriate behaviour with an individual who worked with him".

Neeson described Keillor as an "extraordinary writer, and radio star" and said he was reading about the case recently and recounted what he had read.

"[Keillor] was listening to a sad story from a female friend of his and at the end of this he put his hand to her back, like this, and she had a blouse on and it was her bare back," recounted Neeson.  "I don't know what the blouse was like.  He immediately took his hand away and apologised.  She said, 'Don't worry about it, forget about it.'"

However, he said Keillor followed up with an email apologizing again and was again told not to worry about it.

"Months later he gets a call from a lawyer - his radio station does, Minnesota Public Radio - saying he inappropriately touched this lady and he was dropped like that."

Liam Neeson on the Late Late Show. RTE
Liam Neeson on the Late Late Show. RTE

Neeson drew a distinction between this instance and "the other, Harvey Weinstein stuff, which is... Kevin [Spacey] too."

Asked about Dustin Hoffman, who, among other allegations, was accused by former co-star Karen Rossetter of "nightly sexual harassment" during a theatre run of Death of a Salesman in the mid-80s, Neeson said he was "on the fence about that".

"Because when you're doing a play and you're with your family, other actors and technicians, you do silly things.  You do silly things and it becomes superstitious, and if you don't do it every night you think it's going to jinx the show.

"I think Dustin Hoffman... I'm not saying I've done similar things like what he did, apparently he touched a girl's breast and stuff, but it's childhood stuff."

Author Anna Graham Hunter also claimed that Hoffman repeatedly groped her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 movie of Death of a Salesman.  Cori Thomas also alleges that he exposed himself to her in a hotel room when she was a minor.

Neeson concluded by referencing the #MeToo movement; "There is a movement happening and it's healthy and it's across every industry.  The focus seems to be on Hollywood but it's across every industry.

"I'm a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, a very proud one, and I get sent facts and figures and stuff.  If you read the stuff about that that I've read about how female labourers are being treated on farms, ranches, and all the rest of it, it's chilling."

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