October 16, 2017 at 08:10 AM EDT

Woody Allen has clarified his comments on Harvey Weinstein in the wake of criticism online.

“When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man,” Allen said in a statement. “I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”

In an interview with the BBC published Sunday, Allen addressed the Weinstein allegations, saying the claims are “tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.” The Oscar-winning filmmaker added, “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 also said he hoped the allegations against Weinstein didn’t “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.”

In response to Allen’s initial remarks, the Wonder Wheel director was slammed online.

In 1993, Allen was accused of molesting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was 7 years old. Allen has long denied the claims, which resurfaced in 2014 when Farrow wrote about the alleged incident in a piece for the New York Times. Allen wrote his own response, published by the Times, denying the allegations.

Allen made numerous movies released by Weinstein’s Miramax, including 1994’s Bullets Over Broadway.

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