Friday 16 November 2018

I feel sad for Weinstein and fear a witch hunt: director Woody Allen

Lysette Anthony has told UK police Weinstein attacked her. Photo: PA Wire
Lysette Anthony has told UK police Weinstein attacked her. Photo: PA Wire

Laura Harding in Los Angeles

Woody Allen has said he is "sad" for Harvey Weinstein as the allegations of sexual assault and harassment mount against the disgraced producer, and cautioned against a "witch hunt" against other men.

The director said he had heard rumours about the movie mogul but not the "horror stories" of the allegations that have been made against him.

He 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, it's just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that."

Allen said 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."

Weinstein has been credited with reviving Allen's career after the director was accused of abusing Dylan Farrow, his daughter with actress Mia Farrow. He has always vehemently denied the claims.

They worked together on a number of films, including the Oscar-winning 'Mighty Aphrodite' in 1995.

The allegation against Allen emerged in the early 1990s after the director separated from Farrow when the actress discovered he was having an affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

But despite working closely with Weinstein on a number of projects, Allen said he had never heard any allegations of rape and sexual assault.

"No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness," he said.

Meanwhile, a third woman has contacted British police with sexual assault claims.

Metropolitan Police are now investigating five allegations involving Weinstein, sources have confirmed, dating to the late 1980s. Yesterday, an alleged victim said Weinstein assaulted her in Westminster in 1992.

Earlier, Scotland Yard confirmed three allegations were made relating to sexual assaults in London in 2010, 2011 and 2015. This followed another allegation, made against the movie mogul, passed to Scotland Yard detectives by Merseyside Police this week, relating to an alleged sexual assault in the capital in the late 1980s.

Irish director Martin McDonagh, on the red carpet for the UK premiere of dark comedy 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missour'i, said he was pleased the revelations had surfaced against Weinstein - whom he referred to as a "prick".

He added: "I don't want to be in a place where those people are working, I don't want to be around it."

'Hollyoaks' actress Lysette Anthony has told the Metropolitan Police she was attacked by the movie mogul in her London home in the late 1980s, while another unnamed former Miramax employee said he raped her in the basement flat of his London offices in around 1992.

The woman, who is granted automatic anonymity as an alleged sex offences victim, said she has confided in her husband about the attack only within the last few days.

The woman, who said she chewed raw garlic and wore tatty clothes to repel Weinstein, said: "Even after all these years, I can still wake up screaming.

"I wanted the opportunity to speak out, but I just couldn't see how."

The fresh allegations follow several made by actresses in the US against Weinstein - four of rape and more than 30 of sexual harassment - and come as the organisation behind the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, expelled him.

Anthony (54) said she met the producer when she starred in 1982 sci-fi film 'Krull' and the alleged assault occurred a few years later.

She said it was a "pathetic, revolting" attack that had left her "disgusted and embarrassed".

Irish Independent

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