No matter their involvement, everyone has an opinion about the current #MeToo Movement sweeping across Hollywood. Actor Liam Neeson, for instance, took the opportunity to comment on the cases against fellow actor Dustin Hoffman and radio personality Garrison Keillor during an interview on Ireland’s “The Late Late Show.” While he believes the effort to expose sexual harassers is generally “healthy,” he declared the #MeToo Movement a “bit of a witch hunt.”
“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening,” Neeson explained. “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,” he said, referring to Keillor.
Yet, while Neeson’s views might echo the feelings of many men throughout the industry in recent months, his claims that the movement has spawned “witch hunts” attempts to negate the legitimacy of said allegations, as his historical comparison fails to align with the true gravity of the witch hunts and subsequent trials of centuries past.
Beyond all other factors, previous witch-hunts were based on unfounded claims that the accused were engaging in dark arts with the intent of harming others. Their actions were reminiscent of the devil and therefore subject to persecution and punishment regardless of lack of proof.
However, allegations made with regard to sexual misconduct are not baseless. In fact, one accusation typically begets another, not because women in Hollywood are out to shame men throughout the industry, but because they know people are now willing to listen to and believe the truth they’ve kept hidden all these years. To call this revolution a “witch hunt” means to cast doubt on the victims once again—the same sort of doubt that kept these women silenced in the first place. Implying that not all allegations are created equal also implies that some forms of misconduct aren’t as harmful, which undercuts the movement’s attempt to eliminate sexual assault and harassment from the workplace completely, once and for all.
But, of course, these comments did come from the same man who, just moments after calling the gender pay gap “fucking disgraceful,” openly refused to take a pay cut himself. While Neeson says men need to step up and help fix the problem, when asked if he would take a pay cut so an actress could be paid more, Neeson responded, “Pay cut? No, no, no, no, no. That’s going too far.”
Clearly this action film star refuses to take any real action on behalf of the women in his industry.
(This post originally appeared on Storia.)