Woody Allen calls Weinstein scandal 'sad,' discourages 'witch hunt atmosphere'

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Woody Allen has spoken out on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, saying it’s “very sad for everybody involved.”

On Sunday, the BBC published an interview with Allen in which he commented on the mounting allegations against the disgraced Hollywood mogul, which include dozens of claims of sexual assault or abuse, and expressed sympathy with those speaking out against him as well as the man himself.

“[It’s] 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.” Allen added that he’d heard about Weinstein’s alleged misconduct previously but dismissed such chatter because he was “not interested in it.” He explained, “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.”

More than two decades ago, Allen was accused of molesting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was 7 years old. The allegation has followed Allen since, meeting renewed scrutiny over the past week amid Weinstein’s fall from grace. Ronan Farrow, the journalist who reported a bombshell New Yorker story about Weinstein’s accusers, recently spoke out against Allen, his father, and in support of Dylan and her claim.

Allen has long denied the allegations against him (and he was never criminally charged). Weinstein has denied allegations of non-consensual sex while acknowledging that his behavior has “caused a lot of pain.”

Allen also told the BBC he hopes Weinstein does not become the victim of a “witch hunt,” saying he’d like to see something good come out of the revelations. “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,” Allen said. “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’s new film Wonder Wheel, starring Kate Winslet and distributed by Amazon, screened over the weekend at the New York Film Festival. Its red carpet premiere was canceled in the wake of Amazon Studios chief Roy Price being put on an indefinite leave of absence following sexual harassment allegations.

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