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Gabriel Byrne says #MeToo movement 'hasn't gone far enough'

The actor described Harvey Weinstein as “an absolutely ferocious bully”.

Source: The Late Late Show/YouTube

GABRIEL BYRNE HAS said he thinks the recent Me Too movement against sexual harassment and assault “hasn’t gone far enough”.

During an interview on the Late Late Show, the actor spoke about accusations of sexual misconduct and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, whom he described as “an absolutely ferocious bully”.

Byrne said he knows five of the women who were “compromised” by Weinstein, adding that the producer was protected because he had “such incredible power”. Weinstein has denied the allegations.

“We know from our own culture here that power and institutions are protected – especially when the individual is involved, the institution has to survive. Harvey, as a powerful money-maker, was allowed to continue,” Byrne said.

‘Witch hunt’

Speaking on the Late Late Show last month, fellow Irish actor Liam Neeson said “there is a bit of a witch hunt happening” in Hollywood in relation to the Me Too movement.

When Ryan Tubridy asked Byrne’s opinion on this, he said:”I love Liam, I’ve been a friend of his for many, many years, and of course everybody is entitled to their opinions, but I would say the movement hasn’t gone far enough.

“And I think the pendulum has been so far in the opposite direction for so long, where you’ve had centuries and centuries of women silenced, discriminated.

When they say ‘witch hunt’ I don’t like that word because ‘witch hunt’ was about women being burned alive because they were rumoured to be in some way going against the system.

“People who are saying it has gone too far, I think it’s a way of trying to stop it, trying to keep it contained, ‘OK, that’s far enough now, we get what you’re saying, now go away.’ But I think what has to happen is that the women’s movement needs to be resurgent, it’s only 100 years ago that women were throwing themselves under horses to get the vote.

“If this movement dies out simply with #MeToo then I don’t think it’s going to do a great deal of good in the long run.

What we’re talking about in the end is human rights and we’re talking about 50% of the population of the world and we’re talking about sisters, wives, mothers, daughters. That’s who we’re talking about, it’s not an abstract gender thing that is a cause célèbre du jour.

Alcoholism 

During the interview Byrne also spoke about overcoming his alcoholism 21 years ago, saying: “One day I woke up and I said to myself: ‘If I don’t stop this, I am going to die.’”

He also discussed becoming a father in his 60s, speaking about his bond with his daughter.

“It is a bittersweet experience for me, of course, because I am very much more aware of time at this stage of my life, he said.

On Thursday, Byrne received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards.

Read: Liam Neeson says there’s a ‘witch hunt’ in Hollywood over harassment allegations

Read: 13 Russians charged with interfering in US election

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Órla Ryan

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