Woody Allen has clarified his stance on the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal after the famed moviemaker received backlash for his wording.
The 81-year-old director has worked with Weinstein on multiple films, including 1995’s “Mighty Aphrodite”. Last week, Mira Sorvino — who won a Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie — accused Weinstein of sexually harassing her and trying to pressure her into a physical relationship with him while they worked together on the critically acclaimed film.
“No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” Allen told the BBC in an interview published on Sunday. “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 rumours all the time. And some turn out to be true and some — many — are just stories about this actress, or that actor.”
Allen then said he feels “sad” for both Weinstein’s accusers, as well as Weinstein himself.
“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen said. “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.”
“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,” Allen continued. “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.”
Describing Weinstein as sad, however, had some thinking Allen was sympathetic towards the embattled producer, prompting the director to tell Variety, “When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man.”
“I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”
Allen has faced his own sexual abuse allegations in the past. In a February 2014 op-ed for The New York Times, Dylan Farrow, one of Allen’s three children with ex Mia Farrow, accused Allen of molesting her when she was a child. Allen has continued to deny these claims. The original sexual assault claim in 1992 prompted an investigation that provided no credible evidence.
A spokesperson for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, issued a statement to the magazine in response to the allegations, and said Weinstein denies any allegations of non-consensual sex.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances,” the statement reads. “Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Dylan’s brother, Ronan Farrow, penned a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter defending his sister last May. Farrow also wrote the explosive The New Yorker article on Weinstein published last Tuesday, in which Sorvino as well as multiple women — including actresses Rosanna Arquette and Asia Argento — accused the powerful studio mogul of sexual misconduct.
On Saturday, Weinstein was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Throughout his career, Weinstein’s films have earned more than 300 Oscar nominations, and 81 Oscar wins.
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