Woody Allen speaks out and it appears he's had enough
To say this awards season has not gone as expected is something of an understatement. No one could have anticipated that perhaps the closest best picture race this century would be overshadowed by twenty one year-old allegations surrounding Woody Allen and his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow. After almost two decades of silence, a series of tweets during the Golden Globes from Mia Farrow, Dylan's adoptive mother, and her brother, Ronan Farrow, has snowballed into a dramatic series of statements that has once again dragged these unproven allegations into something of a public spectacle.
Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow publicly brought attention back to the molestation claime during the Golden Globes in January when Diane Keaton accepted a lifetime achievement award for the absent Allen. A series of editorials and reports followed, but it appeared the story had ended. Instead, the now 28-year-old Dylan Farrow released a scathing statement once again accusing her adoptive father of molesting her as a child. And in the New York Times no less. Allen's lawyer and friends have stood up for him, but Allen himself finally felt the need to speak out publicly with an almost unbelievable OP-ED published online in the New York Times tonight (it goes without saying the Paper of Record hasn't been this relevant since the Bush administration left office).
In his lengthy and well-written editorial Allen bluntly describes his initial reaction to the molestation accusations remarking he thought it was obvious and "transparent" they were the "malevolent" actions of a former lover, Mia Farrow, battling for custody of their two children.
Allen goes on, "I naïvely thought the accusation would be dismissed out of hand because of course, I hadn’t molested Dylan and any rational person would see the ploy for what it was. Common sense would prevail. After all, I was a 56-year-old man who had never before (or after) been accused of child molestation. I had been going out with Mia for 12 years and never in that time did she ever suggest to me anything resembling misconduct. Now, suddenly, when I had driven up to her house in Connecticut one afternoon to visit the kids for a few hours, when I would be on my raging adversary’s home turf, with half a dozen people present, when I was in the blissful early stages of a happy new relationship with the woman I’d go on to marry — that I would pick this moment in time to embark on a career as a child molester should seem to the most skeptical mind highly unlikely. The sheer illogic of such a crazy scenario seemed to me dispositive."
Allen details what went on with the case and once again vents his disappointment over the "irresponsible" judgement of Justice Elliott Wilk who said in his ruling in the case -- where charges were not pressed against Allen -- "we will probably never know what occurred." The Oscar winning filmmaker then brings us to the present, "Now it’s 21 years later and Dylan has come forward with the accusations that the Yale experts investigated and found false. Plus a few little added creative flourishes that seem to have magically appeared during our 21-year estrangement."
Eventually, Allen even asks whether he thinks even Mia believes this anymore. "Would a mother who thought her 7-year-old daughter was sexually abused by a molester (a pretty horrific crime), give consent for a film clip of her to be used to honor the molester at the Golden Globes?"
It's an excellent question that sadly brings this all back to awards season. Actually, the spectacle is sad. The fact it's come up because of attention for Allen's "Blue Jasmine" is more disappointing than anything else. It's cast a shadow over one of the best performances of Cate Blanchett's career and Allen's own impressive screenplay. It's all just a mess.
As some of Allen's friends have pointed out, this all seems quizzically timed to Ronan Farrow's meteoric rise as an MSNBC talk show host. Where was all of this public anger from the Farrow clan just two years ago when Allen's "Midnight in Paris" earned a best picture nomination and Allen his fourth Oscar? Instead, while Dylan says she's never wavered in her claims, Mia's teasing that Ronan might actually be Frank Sinatra's son during an October Vanity Fair piece and not Allen (which, by the way, means she was cheating on him at the time) certainly brought a tremendous amount of new attention to her brother and those tweets during the Globes didn't hurt either. Did this all rise from a mother's attempt to help her son's career? It sounds silly, right? And yet...
In any event, Farrow and her grown children might be disturbed if she watches the Academy Awards on March 2. Allen isn't favored to win best original screenplay, but if they expect rumblings from the audience when Allen's name is announced they will be sadly mistaken. His name might not illicit a roar, but it's clear many of Allen's friends in Hollywood and the Academy are still behind him.
Speaking of Allen, he finished up his long post with the following:
"Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us, as Moses has, in a loving, productive way. No one wants to discourage abuse victims from speaking out, but one must bear in mind that sometimes there are people who are falsely accused and that is also a terribly destructive thing. (This piece will be my final word on this entire matter and no one will be responding on my behalf to any further comments on it by any party. Enough people have been hurt.)"
No matter who you believe, Judge Wilk's statement "we will probably never know what occurred" rings true. And, as Dylan's immediate response to Allen tonight attests, this doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.