Since the Harvey Weinstein allegations reignited Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement around the world, countless women (and men) have shared their heart-wrenching experiences with sexual assault and harassment. The response, for the most part, has been overwhelmingly positive. But some people — like actor Liam Neeson — are speaking out against #MeToo, claiming it’s gone too far.
“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening,” Neeson recently said on Ireland’s The Late Late Show, where he was promoting his new film The Commuter. “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.”
Neeson also seemed to dismiss the allegations of sexual misconduct against actor Dustin Hoffman. In a column for The Hollywood Reporter in November, writer Anna Graham Hunter said Hoffman sexually harassed her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of Death of a Salesman.
“The Dustin Hoffman thing, I, I…I’m on the fence with that,” Neeson said. “I’m not saying I’ve done similar things like with what he did, you know, he apparently touched another girl’s breasts and stuff, but it’s childhood stuff.”
While Neeson has been an outspoken advocate for eliminating the gender pay gap, a lot of Twitter users were definitely not here for his comments.
However, there were a few people who sided with Liam Neeson.
They reminded people that the growing tendency to convict people before they’re actually found guilty is a dangerous precedent.
Regardless of your opinion on the #MeToo movement or Neeson’s comments, there’s one thing he said that is particularly troubling. Some pointed out that the problem isn’t calling #MeToo a “witch hunt” — it’s his statements dismissing the allegations of Hoffman’s alleged misconduct as “childhood stuff” we should be focusing on.
We’re seeing a massive rejection of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood and elsewhere, and there’s no question it’s about damn time. However, it’s clear from Neeson’s comments that we still have a long way to go.