Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
Woody Allen is in the news, again, for alleged child molestation. An open letter from his daughter, Dylan Farrow, has detailed precisely how he abused her. Furthermore, Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times who has openly stated his friendship with the Farrow family, supports her claims:
“I asked her why she’s speaking out now. She said she wants to set the record straight and give courage to victims: ‘I was thinking, if I don’t speak out, I’ll regret it on my death bed.’ These are extremely tough issues, and certainty isn’t available. But hundreds of thousands of boys and girls are abused each year, and they deserve support and sensitivity. When evidence is ambiguous, do we really need to leap to our feet and lionize an alleged molester?“
The full open letter by Dylan Farrow was released on The New York Times on February 1st 2014 and can be read here.
Kristof’s article, revealing his own opinion, is accessible here.
To muddy the waters more, filmmaker Robert B. Weide defends Woody Allen himself writing an article titled “The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast” and can be found on The Daily Beast, accessible here.
It is a considerable amount of information to take in. As a fan of Woody Allen’s films it is difficult not to hold an opinion. Is it a case of asking who to believe? Indeed, if you believe Dylan Farrow then Woody Allen, a child molester, has been free and potentially abusing others for decades. Indeed, he has two adopted daughters himself. To adopt, he had to provide evidence to support his claim that they would be brought up in a safe household. This puts a question mark around the entire adoption process and how effective it is. If you side with Allen whatsoever, you discredit the victim’s opinion and therefore fail to support those who are abused – and justify their silence and fear of being heard.
To make matters worse, the strange age difference and former relationship between Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn almost gave a sense that if he is willing to cross those boundaries, what others is he willing to cross?
Personally, I make no judgement. I am not a judge in any case. I am merely a reader of gossip, “news” and second hand information. The open letter should be sent to those in a position to make an arrest. Weide may be professionally hung for supporting Allen, but again, I don’t believe that his opinion is worth any more or less than Kristof’s. Allen has never been a fan of awards and commendations. The fact that Farrow’s letter notes his Oscar nomination and Golden Globe accolade gives the impression that, somehow, this matters. Of course they don’t.
Justice is determined by a court of law and not by internet websites and their ‘comments’. The fact that this situation has been brought up again, two decades since it was initially brought to the attention of the authorities, may mean that the justice system is flawed. This is a bigger concern – how many others have been let down by this?
As I stated before, as a fan of Woody Allen’s films, it is difficult to hold an opinion. But I will not refuse to watch his films. I will not argue his innocence either. I will wait until the law catches up with him – and with an open letter from a victim and the support of family and friends, surely this is the stage whereby an investigation is begun – or continued. Suffice to say, if he is found “not guilty”, then this outcome must be accepted too.
But I will still enjoy his films (and write on our Woody Allen Wednesday). It is important in this social-media age, whereby articles and tweets can cast doubt and challenges our ideas about others that evidence, proof and – in the case of a child molestation allegation – the proper course of justice is followed. I am not a judge and therefore all these column inches to ‘prove’ one way or the other mean nothing as they will only make the situation more unclear. As Kristof states, “certainty isn’t available”, but reading all the articles and reminding yourself that you could be wrong, at the moment, is the only certainty I will comfortably live with. I don’t know the truth – and I accept that.