Liam Neeson criticises 'witch hunt' in wake of Hollywood harassment scandal

Actor Liam Neeson Credit: Laura Hutton

Liam Neeson says that the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal has sparked "a bit of a witch hunt".

His comments came after actress Catherine Deneuve said that men are being unfairly targeted by sexual misconduct allegations and should be free to hit on women.

Asked about the issue, Neeson, 65, told Irish chat programme The Late Late Show, which airs on RTE: "There is a bit of a witch hunt happening too.

"There's some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl's knee or something and suddenly they're being dropped from their programme...."

He said that he was "on the fence" about allegations levelled at Dustin Hoffman.

"When you're doing a play and you're with your 'family', other actors and technicians, you do silly things. You do silly things and it becomes superstitious. If you don't do it every night you think it's going to jinx the show," the Irish star said.

"I think Dustin Hoffman... I'm not saying I've done similar things like what he did. Apparently he touched a girl's breast and stuff, but it's childhood stuff."

Last year, actress Anna Graham Hunter alleged Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 TV movie Death of a Salesman.

Actor Dustin Hoffman in 2017 Credit: Stephane Mahe

Playwright Cori Thomas accused him of exposing himself to her in a New York hotel room in 1980, when she was 16.

In response to Hunter's allegations, Hoffman issued a statement saying the incident "is not reflective of who I am".

On the show, Neeson also defended US radio presenter and writer Garrison Keillor, who was dropped by Minnesota Public Radio last year over an allegation of "inappropriate behaviour".

Hollywood has been hit by a wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Neeson said of the #MeToo movement: "There is a movement happening and it's healthy and it's across every industry. The focus seems to be on Hollywood at the minute, but it's across every industry."

His comments sparked debate on Twitter.

Neeson's comments came after stars wore black at the Golden Globes to protest against sexual misconduct in Hollywood.