It's a witch-hunt, says actor Liam Neeson on Hollywood sex scandals

LOS ANGELES • Hollywood movie star Liam Neeson has dismissed the wave of sexual misconduct allegations in the entertainment industry as "a bit of a witch-hunt", and asserted that breast groping was "childhood stuff" in a TV interview.

Speaking on The Late Late Show on Irish TV channel RTE, Neeson said: "There are some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl's knee, or something, and suddenly they are being dropped from their programme, or something".

"It's a bit of a witch-hunt," he said, when asked what he thought about the allegations of serial sexual assault in the industry, reported The Guardian.

Neeson referred to the recent case of Mr Garrison Keillor, a writer and broadcaster who was fired by Minnesota Public Radio late last year, to illustrate his point.

Mr Keillor was fired over allegations of "inappropriate behaviour with an individual who worked with him". Neither the radio station nor Mr Keillor's accuser publicly disclosed the allegations that led to his dismissal.

In the interview, Neeson echoed Mr Keillor's version of events, which framed them as a well-intentioned misunderstanding.

Neeson also indicated that he was "on the fence" about accusations against fellow movie star Dustin Hoffman, saying that what he had been accused of was "childhood stuff".

Hoffman has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, of exposing himself to a minor, and sexual harassment.

"When you are doing a play and you are with your family - other actors, technicians - you do silly things... and it becomes kind of superstitious, if you don't do it every night; you think it is going to jinx the show," said Neeson.

However, Neeson distanced himself from Hoffman's alleged behaviour, saying: "I am not saying I have done similar things to what he has done."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 14, 2018, with the headline 'It's a witch-hunt, says actor Liam Neeson on Hollywood sex scandals'. Print Edition | Subscribe