Liam Neeson is being criticized on social media after admitting he’s “on the fence” as to whether to believe the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against Dustin Hoffman, describing Hollywood’s #MeToo movement as “a bit of a witch hunt.”
Speaking with Ireland’s The Late Late Show to promote his latest film, The Commuter, Neeson was asked by host Ryan Tubridy about current efforts in Hollywood to protest sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening too,” said Neeson. “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.”
As an example, Neeson pointed to Minnesota radio host Garrison Keillor, who was fired from his long-running “A Prairie Home Companion” over allegations of improper conduct.
“I was reading recently about him, and he was listening to a sad story of a female friend of his, and the end of this, he put his hand to her back… it was her bare back. He immediately took his hand away and apologized,” Neeson said. “She said don’t worry about it, forget about it… He emailed her because he was concerned… Months later, he gets a call from a lawyer… saying he inappropriately touched this lady, and he was dropped, like that.”
While Neeson conceded that the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein were “serious,” he had different feelings about Hoffman. “The Dustin Hoffman thing… I’m on the fence about that. When you’re doing a play and you’re with your family, other actors… you do silly things. It becomes kind of superstitious, if you don’t do it every night you think it’s going to jinx the show,” he said.
“I think Dustin Hoffman… I’m not saying I’ve done similar things, apparently he touched a girl’s breast, but it’s childhood stuff,” he added.
Neeson’s comments sparked anger on social media, with numerous Twitter users blasting the actor for his defence of Hoffman and description of #MeToo as “a witch hunt.”
— Niall McGarry (@MrNiallMcGarry) January 12, 2018
Hi here's Liam Neeson saying it's fine to grab a woman's breasts if it's part of a pre-show superstition. https://t.co/NdfiFnDNZD
— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) January 13, 2018
Oh God, Liam… it's not "childhood stuff" when they were grown men, it's being lecherous, inappropriate creeps. I really like Liam, but just, no… #LateLateShow
— Nicola Brennan (@nnibhraonain) January 12, 2018
Liam Neeson on the #LateLate suggesting that Hoffman might simply rub a co-star's breasts in superstition before a performance.
A grope for good luck as it were. 'Childhood stuff'.
Yeah, if there's a line to be drawn Liam, I don't it's there. https://t.co/d5AHH1BPsE
— Luke Benson (@Mr_LukeBenson) January 12, 2018
Don't work with Liam Neeson, ladies. https://t.co/C6Z7LOEjms
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 13, 2018
Liam Neeson: witch hunt is a term for false accusations against the vulnerable by the powerful, so it’s not an accurate description of holding privileged men in power accountable for their actions.
A witch hunt never ends. We just want men to stop abusing their power.
— Melinda Byerley (@MJB_SF) January 13, 2018