Woody Allen has been forced to clarify comments he made about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, where he expressed sympathy for the disgraced producer.
The director has been widely criticised for remarks he made on Saturday about Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment and abuse by over 40 women.
Speaking to the BBC, Allen said the situation was ‘sad for everyone involved’.
“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” he said.
“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.”
In the same statement, Allen also said it was important to avoid “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.”
The Blue Jasmine director’s comments have been condemned on Twitter, including by Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s victims, who called Allen a ‘vile little worm’ in a tweet.
Users on Twitter called out Allen for his words:
Also men please stop winking at women at work. It’s unwelcome & usually combined with other inappropriate behaviour. If you need to call a lawyer you’ve done more than “wink” & you know it. #WoodyAllen
— Melinda (@MelLiszewski) October 15, 2017
Bizarre but not unexpected comment from #WoodyAllen about men not being able to wink at women at work. Why would you wink at a colleague?
— Claire (@Claireyalli) October 15, 2017
Woody Allen has faced his own claims, with Dylan Farrow, his adopted daughter, accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was seven years old.
Dylan Farrow’s claims have been supported by her mother Mia Farrow and brother Ronan Farrow, who released the original New Yorker post revealing the Harvey Weinstein allegations.
The claims made against Allen were investigated at the time but he was not charged, and the director has always strongly denied the allegations.
Allen has since released a statement clarifying his comments about the Weinstein scandal. He said:
“When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man. I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”
Kate Winslet has also been called a ‘hypocrite’ on social media for condemning Harvey Weinstein’s actions but choosing to star in Allen’s latest movie, Wonder Wheel.
The Oscar-winning actress has also worked with Roman Polanski, who was arrested and charged in 1977 for statutory rape. He since fled to France to avoid sentencing, and is not allowed to work in the U.S.
In defense of working with both directors, Winslet told The New York Times:
“I didn’t know Woody and I don’t know anything about that family. As the actor in the film, you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false.”
She continued: “Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.”
The Academy Awards have also been slammed for hypocrisy, after Weinstein had his membership taken away, but Polanski and Allen are still voting Academy members.