Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Liam Neeson says Hollywood experiencing 'a bit of a witch hunt'

Liam Neeson says Hollywood experiencing 'a bit of a witch hunt'

Appearing on an Irish TV show, popular actor Liam Neeson took the opportunity to speak out against the allegations of inappropriate behavior that have inundated Hollywood, affecting his colleagues. "There are some people - famous people - being suddenly accused of touching some girl's knee or something, and suddenly they are being dropped from their programmes".

He then mentioned the case of Garrison Keillor, who was sacked from his long-running Minnesota Public Radio show a year ago - for what Mr Neeson claimed was placing his hand on a woman's back, an action he apologised for. "But it's childhood stuff what he was doing", Neeson said.

"He was listening to a sad story from a female friend of his, and at the end of it he put his hand on her back, and she had a blouse on and it was her bare back". I don't know what the blouse was like. And he immediately took his hand away and apologised. "Later, he emailed her because he was concerned - apparently he has a thing about touching and physical intimacy - and again she said, 'Don't worry about it, forget about it".

He said that the woman had said it was fine, but months later his station had received a call from the woman's solicitor, and his radio station then "dropped him".

Neeson drew a distinction between this instance and "the other, Harvey Weinstein stuff, which is".

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Speaking on RTÉ's Late Late Show last night, Neeson said that the movement was "healthy" and allegations such as those were "across every industry", but that "the focus was on Hollywood" at the moment. When you're in a play and you're with your family, other actors... you do silly things.

He said that he was "on the fence" about allegations levelled at Dustin Hoffman.

"The Dustin Hoffman thing, I'm on the fence about that". Cori Thomas also alleges that he exposed himself to her in a hotel room when she was a minor.

The French actor Catherine Deneuve drew sharp criticism this week when she also used the term "witch-hunt" to describe the chain of events since allegations of serial sexual assault were made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein previous year.

Neeson said he was "very humbled" to be honoured by President Higgins and that he would continue to "fly the flag for Irish arts" and to continue his work as a goodwill ambassador with UNICEF. And I get sent facts and figures and stuff - and if you've read the stuff I've read about how female labourers are being treated in farms, ranches and all the rest of it, it's chilling".

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