In the wake of dozens of allegations charging Harvey Weinstein with decades of sexual harassment and assault, Woody Allen has decided to weigh in, asserting that the situation is "sad for everyone involved," while also warning of an ensuing "witch hunt" that might create problems for other men in Hollywood. Allen, whose son Ronan Farrow played a key role in elevating Weinstein's accusers, did not directly mention his own decades-old sexual abuse accusations.
Update: Allen clarified his comments. “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.”
"The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved," Allen had said in an earlier statement to BBC. "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."
But the director was also quick to note that the surge of victims speaking out about an alleged serial rapist might also have larger consequences, particularly for men in office environments. "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," he said.
"But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation," he added.
Allen also conceded that he'd heard whispers about Weinstein's behavior, though nothing that struck him as serious. "No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness," he 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 rumors all the time. And some turn out to be true and some—many—are just stories about this actress, or that actor."
Allen has long faced his own allegations of sexual misconduct levied by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. In 2014, Farrow addressed the situation directly, writing in a column for the New York Times, "That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse."
The premiere of Allen's film Wonder Wheel closed out the New York Film Festival on Saturday night—to mostly poor reviews. The movie is being distributed by Amazon Studios, whose programming chief was suspended on Thursday in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.