— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) January 12, 2018
With the rise of the #MeToo and the exposure of men like Harvey Weinstein, some men have profoundly misunderstood the meaning behind the movement, claiming that women are overreacting to normalized harassment and that they are the ones who are truly being persecuted because their “office flirting” has been “misinterpreted.” The phrase “witch hunt” has been frequently tossed around, and the latest to take this stance is Liam Neeson. While promoting his new film, The Commuter, on the Irish talk show The Late Late Show, Neeson made it clear that he thought the movement had gone too far.
“There’s a bit of a witch hunt happening too. There are some people — famous people — being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee or something, and suddenly have been dropped from their program or something.”
Neeson continued, talking about how A Prarie Home Companion‘s Garrison Keillor was a victim who did nothing wrong. However, his opinion got even more troubling when the topic of Dustin Hoffman’s alleged sexual harassment and assault came up, with Neeson claiming that Hoffman groping a woman’s breast was “childhood stuff.”
“The Dustin Hoffman thing, I’m on the fence about that. When you’re doing a play, and you’re with your family — other actors, technicians — you do silly things. And it becomes superstitious if you don’t do it every night you think it’s going to jinx the show.”
Neeson continued, speaking about his time as a UNICEF ambassador and the hardships that women around the world endure. While that is definitely true, that doesn’t mean that the steady stream of harassment that so many women face in the workplace and beyond is ok just because it “isn’t as bad.” There are indeed varying degrees of harassment, but that doesn’t give men get a free pass to continue treating women like they are disposable, less than, or simply there to be the object of their impulses.
Also, historically, witch hunts left a lot of innocent women dead and produced no actual witches, so it might be time to find a new metaphor.
(Via The Late Late Show)