Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone on Friday walked back comments made hours earlier about disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, saying he wasn’t aware of the scale of the allegations against the producer when he implored the public to withhold judgment until a trial was held.
In a Facebook post, Stone added that he won’t be involved in the upcoming TV series “Guantanamo,” which he was to have directed for Weinstein Television, if the Weinstein company is involved.
Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment, assault, and rape in a series of media investigations by the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine.
Earlier in the day, Stone had said that Weinstein was being “condemned by a vigilante system” as people rush to pass judgment on allegations he sexually abused and raped multiple women.
“I’m a believer in you wait till this thing gets to a trial,” he told reporters in the South Korean city of Busan, where he is heading a jury at an international film festival.
“If he broke the law it will come out. I believe that a man shouldn’t be condemned by a vigilante system,” he added.
However, on Facebook, Stone wrote: “I’ve been traveling for the last couple of days and wasn’t aware of all the women who came out to support the original story in the New York Times.”
He was “appalled” at the what had been reported and commended “the courage of the women who’ve stepped forward to report sexual abuse or rape.”
I’ve been travelling for the last couple of days and wasn’t aware of all the women who came out to support the original…
He added, “I’ll therefore recuse myself from the ‘Guantanamo’ series as long as the Weinstein Company is involved.”
Police in New York and the United Kingdom have launched investigations into Weinstein following the publication of an avalanche of claims that go back decades.
The reports have sparked both outrage and soul-searching in Hollywood over the treatment and exploitation of women, particularly young and aspiring actresses.
Weinstein’s accusers include such big-name actresses as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, Kate Beckinsale and actor/singer Ashley Judd.
The allegations ranged from unwanted sexual advances to rape and forced oral sex.
Weinstein, who has been fired from his own studio, has “unequivocally” denied that any of the sex was non-consensual but has also apologized for past behavior.
On Wednesday he was seen in public for the first time in days when paparazzi descended upon him as he left his daughter’s home in Los Angeles.
“Guys, I’m not doing OK but I’m trying,” he said in a video obtained by ABC. “I got to get help. You know what, we all make mistakes.”
As he climbed into an oversized sports utility vehicle, he said he hoped people would give him “a second chance.”
AFP contributed to this report.