Liam Neeson is under fire for saying there is “a bit of witch hunt happening” in regards to the countless powerful men being accused of sexual harassment and assault.
The “Taken” star appeared on the Irish talk show “The Late Late Show” on Friday where he came to Dustin Hoffman’s defense after he was accused of sexual misconduct by several women, calling it “childhood stuff.”
“The Dustin Hoffman thing, I’m on the fence about that,” Neeson told the show’s host Ryan Tubridy.
“Because when you’re doing a play and you’re with your family, other actors, technicians, you do silly things. You do silly things and it becomes kind of superstitious; if you don’t do it every night you think it’s going to jinx the show. I think Dustin Hoffman was … I’m not saying I’ve done similar things like what he did. Apparently, he touched another girl’s breast and stuff. But it’s childhood stuff what he was doing.”
His comments quickly received attention on social media from users who wrote things like: “Wow, Liam Neeson is canceled.”
One user found particular offense with his declaration that the actions were “childhood stuff.”
Actor Liam Neeson came to Dustin Hoffman’s defense in an interview after Hoffman was accused of harassment and assault.
“Oh God, Liam… it’s not ‘childhood stuff’ when they were grown men, it’s being lecherous, inappropriate creeps. I really like Liam, but just, no…,”social media user Nicola Brennan wrote.
“Hi here’s Liam Neeson saying it’s fine to grab a woman’s breasts if it’s part of a pre-show superstition,” another user wrote.
Hoffman was accused by his former co-star on the Broadway performance of “Death of a Salesman” of groping her almost nightly.
He was later accused by five more women of sexual assault, including masturbating in front of a teenager.
Another Twitter user clarified: “Liam Neeson: witch hunt is a term for false accusations against the vulnerable by the powerful, so it’s not an accurate description of holding privileged men in power accountable for their actions. A witch hunt never ends. We just want men to stop abusing their power.”
Stars accused of sexual harassment and assault
The 65-year-old started off the criticized remarks when discussing the deluge of sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood. He also referenced Garrison Keillor’s “inappropriate behavior,” which he was fired over in November.
“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening, too,” he said. “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 program or something.”
Tubridy eventually chimed in to mention the importance of people coming forward and having discussions about these issues, to which Neeson agreed.
“There is a movement happening. 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,” he continued. “I’m a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and a very proud one. And I get sent facts and figures and stuff. And if you read the stuff I’ve read about how female laborers are being treated in farms, ranches and all the rest of it, it’s chilling.”