Woody Allen has said he is “sad” for Harvey Weinstein as the producer faces numerous allegations of sexual assault.
The filmmaker admitted he had “rumours” but not “these horror stories” after an avalanche of women came forward to accuse Weinstein of assault.
Weinstein was voted off the board behind the Oscars on Saturday as a result of the allegations.
Allen faced his own sex claims, accused of molesting his adopted daughter – a claim he has always strongly denied.
Weinstein has been credited with reviving Allen’s career after the allegation he abused Dylan Farrow first emerged in the early 1990s following Allen’s separation from long-term partner Mia Farrow.
The actress left Allen after discovering he was having an affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.
But despite working with Weinstein for a number of films – including the Oscar-winning Mighty Aphrodite – Allen said he had never heard any of allegations of rape and sexual assault.
“No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” Allen told BBC Arabic. “And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.
“But you do hear a million fanciful rumours all the time. And some turn out to be true and some – many – are just stories about this actress, or that actor.”
“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” he added. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that is 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.”
Allen said he hoped the revelations, which emerged after an investigation by the New York Times, would lead to “some amelioration”, but said: “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either.
“But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation.”
Among those who investigated Weinstein were Allen’s own son, Ronan Farrow, who spoke to 13 women who said the producer had sexually harassed or assaulted them.
Weinstein, 65, insists any sexual contacts he had were consensual. His spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said earlier this week: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.”