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Neeson says Hollywood experiencing 'a bit of a witch hunt'

13 January 2018

Liam Neeson has defended veteran actor Dustin Hoffman, saying that the campaign against sexual harassment in Hollywood is becoming "a bit of a witch hunt".

"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 actor said.

Neeson brought up the case of former radio host Garrison Keillor, who was sacked by Minnesota Public Radio over alleged misconduct.

Neeson continued, talking about how A Prarie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor was a victim who did nothing wrong. "I don't know what the blouse was like". And he immediately took his hand away and apologised. "She recoiled", Keillor said.

"Months later, he gets a call from a lawyer, saying he inappropriately touched this lady, and he was dropped from the programme".

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 previous year.

Liam Neeson is coming under fire on social media for his views expressed on The Late Late Show on Irish television. "If you don't do it every night you think it's going to jinx the show", the Irish star said.

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Asked about the allegations which have been levelled against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, Neeson said he was "on the fence" about some of the allegations surrounding Hoffman in particular.

"I think Dustin Hoffman..."

Last year actress Anna Graham Hunter alleged Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of a film in 1985. Cori Thomas also alleges that he exposed himself to her in a hotel room when she was a minor.

Neeson closed the interview by saying that the movement against sexual harassment is "healthy" but the problem spreads "across every industry".

Speaking about the wave of allegations and the emergence of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Neeson acknowledged that it was "healthy" for the entertainment industry to face up to the problems which have been laid bare by the scandals.

Neeson, 65, said his fellow actor was engaging in "childhood stuff" and that anything he might have done while working as a theatre actor could have been "because of superstition". "And if you read the stuff I've read about how female labourers are being treated in farms, ranches, and all the rest of it, it's chilling", Neeson said.

Neeson says Hollywood experiencing 'a bit of a witch hunt'