Woody Allen Warns of ‘Witch Hunt’ After Weinstein Allegations
In an interview with the BBC published early Sunday, the director Woody Allen addressed the wave of allegations against Harvey Weinstein, calling it “tragic for the poor women” but also warning against a “witch hunt atmosphere.”
Mr. Allen’s comments to the BBC were published on the heels of Mr. Weinstein’s expulsion from the Motion Picture Academy on Saturday. The director and producer worked together on several films in the 1990s, and Mr. Allen denied knowledge about any misconduct: “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.”
“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Mr. Allen said. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.”
However, Mr. Allen also cautioned about rushing to judgment. “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.”
Mr. Weinstein’s public stature has rapidly fallen since The New York Times published an investigative report on Oct. 5 detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. Last week, Ronan Farrow, Mr. Allen’s estranged son, published an article in The New Yorker recounting the stories of 13 women who say Mr. Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them since the 1990s.
In 1993, Mr. Allen was accused of sexually abusing his 7-year-old daughter, Dylan Farrow. The fallout from the accusations, combined with a bitter custody battle with Mia Farrow, left Mr. Allen’s reputation badly damaged. However, Mr. Weinstein offered him a lifeline through his company Miramax Films, when he agreed to produce his 1994 film “Bullets Over Broadway.” “Shunned by Hollywood means nothing to Miramax,” Mr. Weinstein told the Los Angeles Times in a 1994 interview. “We’re talking about a comic genius.”
“Bullets Over Broadway” would go on to be nominated for seven Oscars, and Mr. Allen would make several more films for Miramax, including “Mighty Aphrodite” and “Everyone Says I Love You.” The actress Mira Sorvino, who won an Oscar for “Mighty Aphrodite,” told Mr. Farrow that Mr. Weinstein sexually harassed her while they were promoting that movie at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1995.
Mr. Allen’s children, Dylan and Ronan Farrow, have continued to speak out against him. In 2014, Ms. Farrow wrote an open letter in The New York Times further detailing her allegations of her father’s abusive behavior and condemning the film industry’s apathy: “That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye.” (Mr. Allen wrote a Times op-ed denying the accusations.) Mr. Farrow has been vocal about his support for his sister.
Neither Mr. Farrow nor a representative for Mr. Allen immediately responded to requests for comment.