Woody Allen completely misses the point with comments about Harvey Weinstein

UPDATE: Oct. 16, 2017, 1:26 a.m. UTC Woody Allen has clarified his comments regarding the sexual assault allegations directed at Harvey Weinstein, giving Variety a statement:

“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. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”

——-

Original story:

Director Woody Allen commented today on the mounting sexual assault allegations made against Harvery Weinstein, acknowledging that he feels “sad” for Weinstein and is worried about how this scandal will lead to a “witch hunt atmosphere” in Hollywood.

Since a New York Times investigative report published Oct. 5, more than 30 individuals have accused Weinstein of sexual assault and rape, leading to his expulsion from both his own production company, the Weinstein Company, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In an interview with the BBC, Allen expressed his sadness for everyone involved in the scandal, including Weinstein himself. 

“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen told the BBC. “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.”

Allen’s own career was aided by Weinstein in the ’90s after Allen was accused of sexual assault, and Weinstein’s own distribution company Miramax Films gave him a chance and helped produce several of Allen’s films.

Allen was accused of sexually assaulting 7-year-old Dylan Farrow, the daughter of his ex-girlfriend and actress Mia Farrow.  Mia left Allen after discovering he was having an affair with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, who Allen later married. Dylan accused Allen of sexually assaulting her again in 2014 in an open letter in the New York Times.

Allen has denied all sexual assault allegations levied against him.

Along with expressing his sadness for the situation unfolding around Weinstein, Allen warned that the outcome of these allegations could lead to a “witch hunt atmosphere” for men everywhere, where the men would be the witches being hunted.

“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 told the BBC. “That’s not right either.”

Allen seems to consider winking at women in the workplace to be completely innocuous, when in reality it’s pretty likely that no woman wants to be winked at by random guys at work.

Despite that comment, and his questionable reference to the Salem witch trials — a moment in real-life history tinged by its own problematic gender politics — Allen wants this whole sexual assault situation to be turned into something that benefits people. 

“But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation,” he told the BBC.

Perhaps that “benefit” could be that people stop sexually assaulting others in Hollywood and elsewhere, or have people check themselves before they do something they themselves find innocuous but others may not, like winking.

As for Allen’s personal involvement with Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations, the director mentioned that people didn’t seriously tell him any stories about Weinstein, and even if they had, he wouldn’t have listened because he’s too busy making movies.

“No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” Allen told the BBC. “And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie… But 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.”

Maybe if people in Hollywood, especially those in power, were more open to listening to these stories, there would be fewer people allowed to sexually assault people for decades without consequences.

Weinstein claims that all of the allegations of sexual assault against him are false because all of the situations, in his mind, were consensual.

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