Liam Neeson has expressed his scepticism about the sexual misconduct allegations now sweeping through Hollywood and the entertainment industry, in an uncomfortable appearance on Irish television.
"There are some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl's knee or something, and suddenly they are being dropped from their programs".
Neeson was referring to the story of NPR's radio host and writer Garrison Keillor, who was sacked from Minnesota Public radio after being accused of inappropriate behavior with a co-worker, according to the New York Post.
Neeson said the Keillor case differed from situations involving actor Kevin Spacey, who faces more than a dozen accusations of improper conduct, including from several men who were teenagers at the time of the incidents; and film mogul Harvey Weinstein, who faces accusations over decades ranging from harassment to rape.
He said: "When you're doing a play with your family, other actors and technicians - you do silly things". 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.
"I was reading recently about [Keillor], and he was listening to a sad story from a female friend of his", Neeson recounted.
The actor said the allegations reported by media are in "every industry".
People took to Twitter to voice their opinions, with some condemning Neeson for his comments.
"Hi here's Liam Neeson saying it's fine to grab a woman's breasts if it's part of a pre-show superstition", another user wrote. "Childhood stuff". Yeah, if there's a line to be drawn Liam, I don't see it's there".
"There is a movement happening and it's healthy and it's across every industry".
The 65-year-old also defended Dustin Hoffman, who was accused of being sexually inappopriate towards colleagues on set, claiming he was "on the fence".
Speaking about the wave of allegations and the emergence of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Neeson acknowledged that it was "healthy" for the entertainment industry to face up to the problems which have been laid bare by the scandals.
A note to men in Hollywood: You don't get to call this a witch hunt.
And I get sent facts and figures and stuff.
He also spoke about the mistreatment of female labourers he has seen through his work as a UNICEF ambassador.
Hollywood movie star Liam Neeson was in the Aras today meeting with President Michael D Higgins.