In an interview with the BBC, Allen warned of a "witch hunt atmosphere" after Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women over the past few decades. Allen said he hoped "a witch hunt atmosphere" where "every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself" can be avoided.
"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 also denied hearing about rumors of sexual harassment.
"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.”
Allen later clarified his remarks in a statement to Variety.
“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 told Variety. “I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”0comments
Allen, who denied allegations he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992, worked with Weinstein on a number of films in the 1990s and 2000s, including the Oscar winners Mighty Aphrodite and Vicky Christina Barcelona. Allen's biological son with Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, wrote the explosive New Yorker report on Weinstein's sexual assault allegations.
Because of his own past, Allen's remarks on Weinstein were met with disgust on social media. Here's how some responded to the comments:
Woke up to Woody Allen on sexual assault allegations and Richard Spencer on women’s suffrage. Next up: actual lion on veganism’s flaws?— Kate Harding (@KateHarding) October 15, 2017
Woody Allen's Harvey Weinstein response is even more problematic than you could imagine. https://t.co/Sli0bGiSLm— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) October 15, 2017
this is possibly the first time that Woody Allen has ever written a second draft. pic.twitter.com/0yN5nhafyC— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) October 16, 2017
WOMEN: there’s a real problem with sexual power dynamics in the Hollywood system— Karen Kilgariff (@KarenKilgariff) October 15, 2017
REPORTER: hold on, let’s hear what Woody Allen has to say
This is how stupid Woody Allen thinks you are pic.twitter.com/kblLfXmxjH— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 16, 2017
Woody Allen calling Weinstein a sick man. pic.twitter.com/AvtaXv6NBI— Rod (@rodimusprime) October 16, 2017