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Woody Allen has opened up to the BBC about the sexual harassment and assault allegations made against Harvey Weinstein.
The filmmaker, whose latest movie, Wonder Wheel, premiered Saturday night at the New York Film Festival, told the British media outlet that he’d heard rumors of improper conduct by the mogul, but “no one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness. And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.”
Beyond that, Allen said he’d never heard any allegations of rape and sexual assault made against Weinstein.
“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,” he said.
The filmmaker added that he found the allegations against Weinstein “very sad for everybody involved.”
“Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up,” Allen said. “There’s no winners in that, it’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”
He also said he hoped that the allegations would lead to “some amelioration,” but cautioned, “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. That’s not right either.
“But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people, rather than just a sad or tragic situation,” Allen said.
Allen worked with Weinstein on a number of movies, including 1994’s Bullets Over Broadway, 1995’s Mighty Aphrodite, 1996’s Everyone Says I Love You and 1998’s Celebrity, all of which were distributed by Miramax. Allen’s 2008 film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, was released by The Weinstein Co.
Allen has faced his own sexual assault controversy, accused of molesting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, which he has repeatedly denied.
Still, others, like Ronan Farrow, Allen’s son with Mia Farrow and Dylan’s brother, have supported Dylan’s allegations. Ronan is the author of the New Yorker exposé that revealed more alleged instances of sexual harassment and assault by Weinstein, including three women who accused the film mogul of raping them.
Allen’s Wonder Wheel is being distributed by Amazon Studios. That company’s vp, Roy Price, has also been accused of sexual harassment and was this week suspended in the wake of a claim from one of the company’s producers.
Allen’s words about Weinstein were quickly condemned on social media, with many taking particular issue with his comments warning against a Hollywood “witch hunt.” Rose McGowan, who has been a loud Hollywood voice since the story first broke and who also came out to add her name to the list of women accusing the embattled movie mogul of rape, called Allen a “vile little worm” on her Twitter.
On Monday, Allen responded to the backlash in a statement to THR, clarifying his “sad” comment: “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.”
Oct. 16, 8:20 a.m.: Updated with Allen statement.
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