Comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen says he feels “sad” for the those caught up in the Harvey Weinstein controversy but has warned against creating a “witch hunt atmosphere” targeting men in the workplace.
In an interview with the BBC, Allen said he hopes the revelations lead to “some amelioration” for those involved but said there are ultimately “no winners” in the scandal.
“You … 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,” he said.
Weinstein has been accused by several actresses and models of harassment and “abuse of power” after a New York Times investigation revealed allegations of sexual misconduct spanning over three decades.
But Allen, who worked with Weinstein on several films throughout the 1990s, said he had never heard any serious allegations of rape or assault against Weinstein.
“No-one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” Allen said.
“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.”
Since the Weinstein story broke more investigations have been published, including one by Allen’s estranged son Ronan Farrow, who spoke to multiple women who said they faced inappropriate encounters with the Hollywood executive.
“In the course of a 10-month investigation, I was told by 13 women that, between the 1990s and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them,” Farrow wrote in the New Yorker last week.
Allen feels sad for Weinstein’s ‘messed up’ life
Allen himself has faced accusations of sexual assault and paedophilia.
In 2014 his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow publicly accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was seven years old.
“For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like,” she wrote in the New York Times.
Weinstein has been credited with helping Allen’s career recover after the allegations first emerged in the early 1990s, making deals to distribute some of his movies at a time the director was reportedly “shunned” by the industry.
“Shunned by Hollywood means nothing to Miramax. We’re talking about a comic genius,” Weinstein told the LA Times in 1994.
“Chaplin was shunned by Hollywood; so were a great many other international filmmakers, including Fellini — and those are the people who belong with Miramax.”
Since the New York Times story was published Weinstein has been fired as co-chairman of the Weinstein Company which he co-founded, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, and left by his wife Georgina Chapman.
“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen said.
“[It is] 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.”