Speaking on RTE’s ‘The Late Late Show’, he said: “There is a bit of a witch hunt happening.
“There’s some people, famous people, who have been suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee, or something, and suddenly they’re being dropped from their programme, or something.”
He continued: “When you’re doing a play and you’re 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’s going to jinx the show,” he said. “I’m not saying I’ve done similar things to what [Dustin Hoffman] apparently did… but it’s childhood stuff.”
His comments were met with a wave of negative reactions online:
I can’t believe this Liam Neeson was a national treasure and now….he’s over
— 𝕮𝖔𝖒𝖗𝖆𝖉𝖊 𝕳𝖎𝖑𝖙𝖔𝖓 (@infinityonhi) January 12, 2018
— Clare burke (@ClareBurke_) January 13, 2018
Liam Neeson is cancelled. A witch hunt is what women have endured in almost every industry for decades if not centuries. Not to mention the literal witch hunts where women were murdered for no reason. It is not holding men accountable for their own disgusting actions.
— Helen (@_halfords) January 13, 2018
— Ray (@RayMcGrath) January 12, 2018
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.
— Melinda Byerley (@MJB_SF) January 13, 2018
Disappointed by Liam Neeson’s comments. Reinforcing the idea that inappropriately touching women was the norm and therefore ok. The reference to a ‘witch hunt’ also irked me. #LateLateShow
— Dr. Michelle McMahon (@DrMMcMahonEP) January 12, 2018
So, a few guys in #Hollywood are starting to feel a little uncomfortable? Unsafe? Attacked? Powerless?
Well, multiply all of your little man feelings by 100 & you MIGHT begin to understand how every ingenue who has ever crossed your path has felt.https://t.co/2L8zw0mDcb
— Robert #Resist Sandy (@frodofied) January 13, 2018
Which is worse – him saying sexual harassment allegations are a witch hunt or claiming it’s ok to grope a colleague if it’s part of a theatre superstition?
— Emma Kelly (@TooManyEmmas) January 13, 2018
Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing writer Anna Graham Hunter while in a production of ‘Death Of A Salesman’ in 1984.
In response to the allegations, he said in a statement: “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation.
“I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”
He has also denied assault allegations made by Melissa Kester and an anonymous woman.
Time’s Up follows the rise of the #MeToo hashtag, which saw people sharing their experiences of sexual harassment on social media, in response to the allegations made about various men in Hollywood in light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.