Liam Neeson appeared on the Late Late Show on Friday night to discuss a number of issues, including religion, his career and the Hollywood sex abuse scandal.
On the later issue, Neeson said he felt that there was “a bit of a witch-hunt happening”.
“There is some famous people being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee or something and suddenly they’re being dropped from their programme or something,” Neeson said.
Neeson referenced US radio presenter Garrison Keillor when discussing the scandal.
“I was reading recently about him (Keillor). He was listening to a sad story from a female friend of his. And at the end of this he put his hand to her back…
“And she had a blouse on and it was her bare back, I don’t know what the blouse was like, and he immediately took his hand away and apologised. She said ’don’t worry about it, forget about it’.
“They went their separate ways, but he emailed her because he was concerned. Apparently, he has a thing about physical touching anyway. And she said ‘forget about it, don’t worry about it.’
“Months later he gets a call from a lawyer, or his radio station does in Minnesota Public Radio, saying he inappropriately touched this lady, and he was dropped like that.”
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) January 12, 2018
When host Ryan Tubridy mentioned the allegations against the likes of Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, Neeson said: “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. You do silly things.
“It becomes superstitious, if you don’t do it every night you think it’s going to jinx the show.
“I think Dustin Hoffman was…em…I’m not saying I’ve done similar things like what he did, apparently he touched another girl’s breast and stuff.
“It’s childhood stuff.”
Neeson did say that the movement that was happening at the moment and the discussion has been healthy.
“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.
“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 labourers are being treated in farms, ranches and all the rest of it, it’s chilling.”
The reaction on social media was largely negative.
Oh Liam Neeeson, sexual harassment and sexual assault are not ‘silly things’. #LateLateShow
— Liz Nugent (@lizzienugent) January 12, 2018
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… #LateLateShow
— Nicola Brennan (@nnibhraonain) January 12, 2018
"When you are doing a play, when you are with your family, you do silly things"
Adds that sexual misconduct exists in "every industry".
— Ciara Plunkett (@PlunkettCiara) January 12, 2018
Oh Liam! Whatever about the sexual intimidation of it, the Hoffman story showed he's a complete bully. Difficult to hear how he treated 'underlings' & still be in two minds. #LateLate #LateLateShow #LiamNeeson
— Carole (Ducky) (@IrPsych) January 12, 2018
More disappointed that Tubridy didnt challenge Neeson on his comments. But sadly, not surprised. #LateLateShow
— Katie (@ktscndv) January 12, 2018
Tubridy actually saved him from going deeper there. Cut it off before he went any deeper. Weak interviewing. #LateLateShow
— Shane O Leary (@shaneoleary1) January 12, 2018