Woody Allen Hopes Harvey Weinstein Scandal Doesn't Lead To 'Witch Hunt Atmosphere'

The 78-year-old filmmaker reveals he is 'sad' for Harvey Weinstein following sexual assault allegations.

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Years after Woody Allen denied that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, to the New York Times, the filmmaker has spoken seemingly in defence of film producer Harvey Weinstein following allegations of sexual assault.

Following the revocation of Weinstein's membership from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the weekend, the American writer/director told BBC News: 'No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness.

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'And they wouldn't, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.'

Admitting he has heard 'a million fanciful rumours' over the years, the Manhattan filmmaker added that 'some turn out to be true and some - many - are just stories about this actress, or that actor'.

Discussing the Weinstein scandal - which includes allegations of rape and sexual harassment from numerous A-list heavyweights (some of which Harvey and his legal team have denied) - Allen said: 'The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved. Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up.

'There's no winners in that, it's just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.'

No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness

Expressing concern that allegations might result in further reputations of male Hollywood figures to be damaged, Allen added: '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.

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'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.'

The filmmaker later cleared up confusion with regards to his sadness for Weinstein to Variety magazine, explaining: '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.'

Among the journalists who investigated Weinstein were Allen's own estranged son, Ronan Farrow, who spoke to 13 women who said the producer had sexually harassed or assaulted them.

In 2016, Farrow published an essay in The Hollywood Reporter discussing the sexual assault allegations against Allen by his ex-wife Mia Farrow's adopted daughter, Dylan.

In the column, Farrow condemned the media's 'culture of acquiescence' surrounding his father and criticised newspapers that did not report his sister's allegations, calling out the industry's culture of 'impunity and silence'.

'That kind of silence isn't just wrong. It's dangerous,' Farrow wrote of the reportage of his sister's allegations against Allen.

'It sends a message [...] that it's not worth the anguish of coming forward. It sends a message about who we are as a society, what we'll overlook, who we'll ignore, who matters and who doesn't.'

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