Woody Allen link roundup – we examine the media response

It’s also not really our place to comment- partly since this is less a film issue, per se, than a crime issue, and partly because (whisper it) BFF editor John Underwood “never really got the Woody Allen thing anyway”.

Fortunately, people more articulate, knowledgeable and conflicted than ourselves have written some things you really should read on this whole thing.

First, let’s start with the Guardian article, which sets out the facts without coming down too much on either side. Those facts are these: Woody Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan has publicly and repeatedly accused Allen of molesting her as a child; Allen denies this. The accusations are first here, in this very long Vanity Fair piece, and then here. That second link is Dylan Farrow’s story in her own words, and it is an open letter, and it is heartbreaking, and hard to read. Allen says this letter is “untrue and disgraceful”, and that Dylan is telling this now, coached by her mother, in order to wreak revenge for the separation of Allen and Farrow in 1993.

It is unlikely that we will ever know the full facts of this case. We will not, and cannot ever know what happened between Dylan and Woody Allen in an attic twenty years ago. But the assumptions we make, over this case, say a lot about the kind of people we are, and the kind of society we are. This, so far, is the very best article on this case we have come across. Woody Allen’s presumed innocence comes at the cost of that of Dylan Farrow, and, simply put, we care more about Woody’s innocence than hers. This article, too, by Roxane Gay, picks this up- and what’s more, picks up how hideously, staggeringly common this is, and how rare it is for paedophiles to be brought to justice, and how rare it is, also, for their victims to tell. It is rare, also, for victims to lie about rape: it is more common, as Zoe Stavros notes in her blog here, for a man to be hit by an asteroid than falsely accused of rape.

This is the kind of people we are, then: we are the kind of people who trust absolutely adults over children- though adults lie, and often- and we are the kind of people who children do not trust enough to tell when they are hurt. We are the kind of people who really do, as per this Onion article, have to think pretty damn hard before we decide who to trust, and we are the kind of people who, as per that Daily Beast article, leap to defend the men we know against accusations, allegations and even- yes- supporting evidence. And that Daily Beast article is rape culture- our culture- in action. Him? But he’s a nice guy, he couldn’t possibly be a rapist. He’s nice to animals; he wears funny glasses; he’s Woody Allen, for God’s sake- he can’t be a rapist.

Even at the milder ends of the spectrum, as per this Suzanne Moore article, we attack those condemning Allen on the basis of Farrow’s testimony as “kangaroo courts”. This blog post, by Kate Harrad, is an interesting take on Moore’s article.

We do not know what happened between Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow in that attic twenty years ago. We cannot know what happened between Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow in that attic twenty years ago. All we can know for certain, now, is how we react to the news that someone we like has hurt a child, and our public reaction to that news suggests that something, somewhere, has gone very, very wrong.

About The Author