Liam Neeson says the #MeToo movement has brought about a "witch hunt"

President Michael D Higgins and Liam Neeson. Image

President Michael D Higgins and Liam Neeson. Image

While Neeson acknowledged that Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey's alleged misconduct is unacceptable, he said Dustin Hoffman's allegations are a "silly thing". When you're doing a play, and you're with your family - other actors, technicians - you do silly things.

He went on to discuss the firing of Garrison Keillor from Minnesota Public Radio following a similar allegation.

"The Dustin Hoffman thing, I'm on the fence about that", Neeson said.

"It becomes kind of superstitious, if you don't do it every night you think it's going to jinx the show".

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". "Apparently he touched a girl's breast and stuff, but it's childhood stuff".

Author Anna Graham Hunter also claimed that Hoffman repeatedly groped her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 movie of Death of a Salesman.

The wave of sexual allegations against powerful men in Hollywood kicked off the #MeToo movement, which originally appeared on Twitter as a hashtag, encouraging women to publicize their experiences of being sexually abused, assaulted or harassed.

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Elsewhere playwright Cori Thomas accused the actor of exposing himself to her in a NY hotel room in 1980 when she was 16.

Neeson's comments come a day after he criticised the gender wage gap in Hollywood as "fucking disgraceful", while at the same time admitting he wouldn't take a pay cut so his female co-stars could be paid more.

"It's a bit of a witch-hunt", he said when asked what he thought about the allegations of serial sexual assault in the industry, reported The Guardian.

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

The award highlights the outstanding work by Irish people living overseas across a range of areas, from sport to science, charity or community support. Reinforcing the idea that inappropriately touching women was the norm and therefore OK.

‏But @RealSarahFlynn wrote: "You mightn't like it but at least he's authentic and I don't think calling elements of it a witch hunt is that terribly untrue". "And indeed, that is the case in the case of Liam Neeson", President Higgins said. It's a radical way of thinking, but what if he's right.

One user agreed with him, saying "We can't instantly shun someone when they've only been accused".

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