For Once, Alec Baldwin Says the Right Thing on Twitter ... and Promptly Deletes It

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For Once, Alec Baldwin Says the Right Thing on Twitter ... and Promptly Deletes It

By Cindy Davis | Think Pieces | February 4, 2014 | Comments ()

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After this weekend’s New York Times published Dylan Farrow’s affecting open letter detailing the abuse she suffered as a child, there have been non-stop media responses and public discussion over what has essentially become a private matter. There are very few people, by virtue of first hand knowledge, qualified to speak on behalf of either the victim or the accused. And yet somehow, after reading news reports and articles, or accounts by people who know Woody Allen or Mia Farrow, most of us think we’ve properly assessed the situation and made our feelings known via social media or live discussion. But you know what? This isn’t a trial. It isn’t our thing. Dylan Farrow is finally having her say in public, and she deserves to do that. When she was seven years old someone else was making choices and talking on her behalf; as a young woman, she wants to speak for herself about something that happened to her. We champion her, regardless of our factual knowledge, as we should. Any victim of abuse or rape should and must be heard, believed and supported. It is important to Dylan Farrow that we hear her anguish and know the pain she has suffered.

Allen has and will apparently continue to deny the allegations against him; because of the statute of limitations, it is extremely unlikely a case could be brought against him. Whatever your personal feelings about the man, as the accused, he still has the right to speak his defense.

But, demanding that other people come to the same conclusions we do, or insisting others shun and/or disrespect either of the involved parties isn’t really the way to go either. None of us has personal knowledge of the facts. None of us can tell someone else connected to Allen or Farrow how to conduct himself in personal or professional relationships; neither would we want to be directed ourselves. Because of the prosecutor’s decision not to bring criminal charges against Allen, the case is seemingly left to be “tried” in the court of public opinion—but does that mean we get to administer the punishment to Allen and all his known associates? Is it not for Cate Blanchett to decide whether and how she’ll respond to Dylan’s letter?

She did:

“It’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some sort of resolution and peace.”

And when people went after Alec Baldwin (who co-starred with Blanchett in Blue Jasmine)—generally known for throwing out an angry tweet and immediately deleting—he did indeed tweet an angry response and delete it, but what he said made sense. In response to a Twitter user’s query, “@ABFalecbaldwin don’t you think maybe you owe #DylanFarrow an apology?” Baldwin replied:

“What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family’s personal struggle?”

Responding to another Tweet:

“You are mistaken if you think there is a place for me, or any outsider, in this family’s issue.”

You know what, he’s right. We have no place trying to force our way into this situation. We have no right to tell Blanchett, Baldwin or anyone else how to interpret what happened. Regardless of Allen, what we can and should do is give that young lady—Dylan Farrow—all the love and support and kind words we are able. If we really want to affect the outcome of this tragedy in a positive or meaningful way, and to show other victims of abuse or rape that we care, we’re here for them and we believe them, is to give all our support to her. No one can fix or affect what has already happened, but we can surround Ms. Farrow with warmth, and the knowledge that she is being heard and believed.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Wigamer

    Here's the way I think about it: I was physically abused by one of my parents for most of my childhood. For whatever sick set of reasons, none of my siblings were abused. It's obviously very difficult for me to have a relationship with this parent now, but my siblings don't have nearly the same feelings or difficulty. They all acknowledge what happened to me, and I appreciate that. But I can't expect them to cease contact with our parent out of solidarity with me or something. They don't owe me that. They owe it to me to love me, believe me, and listen to me when/if I want to talk about it, but that's all I really have any right to expect. We simply have to be realistic and realize that without a conviction, people are going to reserve judgment.

  • I'm so sorry...all the hugs and love and warmth.

  • Wigamer

    It's all good :) But still appreciated!

  • wrongsideofhistory

    long time reader, first time poster. the pajiba coverage on this issue has been appalling and is really making me re-think my visits to the site. the consistent "we should all leave poor woody" alone coverage is absolutely appalling. first we get the article that throws up the slut-shaming documentary directors "well, he couldn't have done it b/c MIA" defense and now this. there will never be any justice for dylan farrow in the courts, but she very clearly articulated how society's continued support of him by both fans and the hollywood elite is damaging. anyone who stands beside her has every right to continue to speak for and with her. Pajiba, you're on the wrong side of history on this story and you might want to just quit while you're ahead.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    I disagree.

    I think, if you ask any victim of rape or sexual abuse who has spoken openly about it and who did it to him or her, you will notice a trend. People who know both victim and perpetrator (alleged perpetrator, if you insist) will almost never do anything whatsoever that involves holding the perpetrator accountable. "I believe you and everything, but he's always been really nice to me, you know?" "It's not that I think you're lying, but she has really great parties." "But he's my husband." It's painful. It exacerbates the suffering of survivors. And it adds to the continual tacit acceptance of sexual abuse in our culture, and the silencing of those who talk about it.

    As you say, Dylan deserves to be heard and believed. And none of us can force a specific set of actions on someone else. None of us personally knows Dylan or Allen; if I decide to boycott Allen's films and you don't, well, I might think you should, and you might think I'm crazy, but that's manageable. People who actually know and work with Allen, people who hold him up, publicly, as a legend and a paragon, people who know Dylan especially, I think we have the right to judge how they respond.

  • lowercase_ryan

    buuuuuuuuuuuut I will say that the question to Baldwin was such an obvious troll jobl. The man has no control whatsoever.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I love Kumail.

  • Art3mis

    I really disagree with this.

    Yes, this is a personal matter between family members. But it's ALSO a public matter. Sexual assault is a crime and not simply a civil action precisely because the abuse of children is NOT just a personal matter, because harm to children is something we all need to care about and that hurts society as a whole. And in this specific case, the accusation has been made publicly, and the victim has come forward and said "this is what happened to me, and if you believe me you should not be working with my abuser."

    And that seems pretty reasonable to me. If someone raped a 7 year old and was never punished and rehabilitated, then, no, I don't think famous people should be lining up to work for him. I don't think that he should be given lifetime achievement awards and have glowing profiles written about him, and I don't think that I should pay to see his movies.

    If the victim wanted this to be a private matter, she would and could have said nothing. But she has the right to tell her story, and she has the right to ask people not to support her abuser. She can't demand that people do what she wants, but she -- and others -- can form judgments about people based on how they respond to what she has said and asked.

    I saw Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine in theaters, and I rented Vicky Christina Barcelona. I did so knowing that this accusation had been made back in the early 90s, and knowing that I thought Woody Allen was a very gross man. But I didn't think nearly enough about the issue before I paid to watch his movies--and thus supported him, tacitly or not--and I think I made the wrong decision. And now, having read Dylan Farrow's own words about what happened, I will absolutely never, ever again give my financial support to Woody Allen.

    You don't have to agree with me. But I don't have to think that people shrugging their shoulders and going "I'm just not going to think about whether he raped a 7 year old because that's between him and his victim" is okay.

  • And that's not what I'm saying. Nowhere do I say anything about ignoring what happened to her, or disregarding her.

    I'm saying support Dylan--that's what is important and that's what she needs. And by all means, pull your support and money from Allen if that's how you want to support her.
    But it's not our position to make that decision for everyone else; to berate or punish anyone who comes into contact with Allen.

  • Art3mis

    Like I said, obviously neither Dylan nor anyone else can force people to agree with her and pull their support from Woody Allen. But I see absolutely no reason why we should refrain from passing judgment on those who ignore her allegations.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but your position here seems to be that we should refrain from getting upset at anyone who chooses not to believe Dylan Farrow and who continues to support Woody Allen. But I just don't remember that argument being made regarding Ben Roethlisberger supporters or R Kelly supporters, and I don't really understand why it applies more in this case than in theirs. A woman has publicly accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 7 years old. I believe her. If Alec Baldwin doesn't believe her (or doesn't want to think about it) and continues to work with and support Woody Allen, I feel no qualms at all about thinking he's an asshole for it.

  • Getting upset isn't in the equation. My position is, the way you or I feel doesn't dictate, nor should it, how anyone else is supposed to feel or what conclusions anyone else should draw. None of *us* as outsiders knows the full details of the case. What I believe doesn't give me the right to go after Cate Blanchett because she doesn't agree with me, or because she hasn't decided to take what I consider appropriate action. We don't have the right to tell Blanchett or Baldwin they should apologize to Dylan for working with Allen.

  • Art3mis

    What I believe doesn't give me the right to go after Cate Blanchett because she doesn't agree with me, or because she hasn't decided to take what I consider appropriate action. We don't have the right to tell Blanchett or Baldwin they should apologize to Dylan for working with Allen.

    Why not?

    That's an honest question. If it's okay for us to decide for ourselves that Woody Allen raped a little girl, why is it not okay for us to be upset with people who came to what we think is the wrong conclusion and continue to support him? If Woody Allen raped a little girl, being friends with him and appearing in his movies is not a morally neutral act. Doing so is taking a side. And I can't force anyone to take the side I want them to, but I really don't understand why I should refrain from judging those who took the side of a man I believe is a child rapist.

    Maybe Cate Blanchett really believes Woody Allen is innocent. Maybe Cate Blanchett thinks he might have done it, but has reformed. Maybe Cate Blanchett decided not to think about it too hard because she really liked the Blue Jasmine role. But by the same token, maybe R Kelly defenders really think he's innocent, or think he's a good guy who just made some mistakes, or prefer not to think about it at all. Maybe the people supporting the Stubenville rapists think they're innocent, or nice young men who showed some bad judgment, or don't think about it at all because they like watching their football team win. None of those people, including Cate Blanchett, owe me anything. But I also don't owe them my silence about their actions.

    And given all the things we judge celebrities for without a second thought--whether they look surly on the red carpet and seem ungrateful in interviews, whether they are sufficiently humble or seem too full of themselves, whether they take roles in movies that portray women in a bad light or whitewash minority characters, whether they shade other actors who we don't think deserve it--I really don't see why "works with a child rapist" should be a protected category. Especially when the child in question is now a grown woman who is herself saying that she is harmed by their support of her abuser, and that she wants them to stop. To me, supporting her doesn't have to stop at personally believing her. We can also support her call for others in the industry to stop taking his side.

  • Why not? Because the conclusion you or I have come to isn't necessarily the same as anyone the conclusion someone else did--nor should I demand it be. What right do I have to punish Cate Blanchett for not deciding the same as me?

    Does believing Dylan mean I have all the information about what happened; that I can now be judge, jury and executioner of everyone who comes in contact with Allen? I have the right to publicly demean them as well?

  • profession: none, or starlet

    So we can, and should, believe Dylan, but only so far as not, like, actually making trouble for the person we believe sexually abused her?

    I'm sorry, I find that bizarre. If we believe Dylan - and, in particular, if actors and actresses who know Dylan personally believe her - then hell yes, they have a moral responsibility to do something about that. Not going on and on - publicly! - about how great Woody is seems a pretty minimal requirement in the circumstances.

    Because otherwise, refusing to act is saying to Dylan, tacitly, "No, I actually don't believe you." Or, "I believe you, but I value my own convenience and comfort above your suffering." And yeah, I think we have the right to say that someone who won't do that sucks! We're not exactly breaking down their door. We're saying they suck. Which they do.

    I think Patty Chase's immortal words are pretty relevant here: "Graham, grow up. Pick a side."

  • Art3mis

    I just don't understand why Diane Keaton saying that Woody Allen is good for women is above criticism but me saying that Diane Keaton should stop supporting Woody Allen is being judge, jury, and executioner.

    I'm not suggesting that we haul his supporters out back and shoot them. I'm saying that whether someone supports him is going to affect how I view them.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    I think, at the very least, we can say that Diane Keaton is pretty ignorant about predators and sexual abuse. "But he was polite to me and never abused a child while I was watching him!" What the fuck did you expect?

  • lilianna28

    I don't think it's solely a family matter. I think that sends a very dangerous message to abuse victims that they need to solve their issue within the family unit, one that was abusive. We will never know the "truth" because you never, in any case, at any time know the "truth". Stubenville was proof that you can have photographic evidence of rape and still have it called into question. In any case we will choose to believe one person or another, but shoving this into the "family matter, just move along here" category seems lazy.

  • Should Dylan Farrow have her say? Sure. Does she have the right to be believed? I think you are overstating things.

    Basically, everyone in this situation chose to make it public, and brought the shit storm down upon their own heads. Now they can enjoy it.

  • emmalita

    Well done Cindy, beautifully written.

  • the dude

    But what if Dylan is lying? Should we still support her then? And shouldn't we hypothetically support Woody Allen too in that case?

  • emmalita

    In the absence of a legal finding, you can decide that Dylan Farrow is lying and support Woody Allen. I think what Cindy is saying is that the parties involved have the right to speak, and we can make our own decisions, but we don't have the right to insist other people feel the way we do about the issue.

  • AudioSuede

    This is the kind of story where no one wins, everything is sad, and literally the only way any kind of positive outcome can emerge from this storm of sorrow is if people take it as a cautionary tale and encourage victims of sexual abuse to tell their stories and not be afraid of further harm.

  • L.O.V.E.

    I appreciate this piece, but there are really another issue you are not addressing:

    Woody Allen has just been celebrated by Hollywood, and receives the publics' support of his films. The Farrows have outright questioned Hollywood's support of Allen, accusing him of being a child molester.

    That places the onus on anyone who wants to work with him to make a decision.

    In my family a niece accused an uncle 30 years after the fact of molesting her. He has been ostracized from the family despite his vehement denial of the claim. That is the family matter to which you allude. That is our choice.

    But if the family takes the next step and publicly tells his co-workers, his friends, etc. of these accusations and essentially tell them to pick sides, then I think those people are justified in using the same medium to address their own opinion on the matter.

  • But that's an individual decision to be made by those people, and it's not for us to publicly put the friends, associates, etc. on trial if we the public don't agree with their decisions.

  • JustOP

    There's a difference between putting them on trial and questioning them for the decisions they choose to make given the evidence at hand. I think it's a bit hyperbolic to suggest that people like Cate Blanchett are being 'put on trial' with any serious consequences because people decide to give their opinion on the matter at hand or question those involved.

    Secondly, this family's struggle is not private and judging by the fact that the victim herself posted an OPEN letter to the general public about her experience, is likely meant to encourage discussion and debate.

    Thirdly, it's disengenous to say that we 'should not try to force our way into the issue, but instead, offer support'. It's not 'forcing our way into an issue' if someone has publicly offered their story to us, it's simply engaging in the discussion that has been sparked by the very article itself. Also, are we limited to either ONLY offering support OR giving our opinion? Can we not do both? We can, so it's a bit insincere to suggest otherwise.

  • It's forcing our way into the situation by shaming actors who work with Allen or administering public humiliation to anyone who doesn't shun him or take a public stand against him.

  • JustOP

    If you believe Dylan's events of the story, then Woody Allen is a peadophile whom has remained free from persecution and justice for years, is celebrated widely around the globe for his movies, and publicly lauded by some of the most privileged and wealthy people on the planet.

    You're not 'forcing' yourself into these peoples lives (especially of those whom have chosen to take a stance on the issue) by questioning exactly why they have decided to take a said stance. In the same vein, nor is it 'forcing' yourself into these peoples lives whom HAVN'T made a stance but have engaged in a professional relationship with Allen. They have worked with and profitted from him.

    There will be some people out there whom will act irrationally towards those people, which is what I suppose you mean by 'shaming'. That still doesn't mean that as a collective we have 'no right' to enquire into this now public scenario. Please do not try to make out that anyone whom attempts to gleam information, facts, or further opinions on this matter as people whom either 'shame' or 'publically humiliate' when that is not the case.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    Kind of a nitpick, but I think this is actually important: most people who sexually abuse children aren't paedophiles (i.e. people exclusively/primarily attracted to children), they're sick fucks who choose children as victims because children lack power and credibility to complain/resist. Most people who sexually abuse children also have adult partners. i.e. Sexual abuse is often NOT about overwhelming sexual desire, it's about power.

  • Telling Alec Baldwin he owes Dylan Farrow an apology is an attempt to shame and publicly humiliate him.

  • JustOP

    So we chould bar everyone ever from offering an opinion on the matter because a minority of people have told Alec Baldwin to say sorry? Right.

    Those people are wrong in trying to make him do something he doesn't have to, that's correct. But his responses aren't really defendable. The fact is there isn't 'the fuck wrong' with anyone whom decides to comment on this issue as it has been made public by the most important person regarding it.

    A correct response would have been something around the lines of 'this is my stance on this issue, but my comforts go out to all involved' or declining to comment. However, ironically enough, it is actually Baldwin whom is 'shaming' people for offering their opinion by assuming they are invading peoples private spheres and lives, which is evidently not the case.

  • John G.

    Woody Allen will be dead in almost no time. He will not face any real punishment if this is true. He doesn't even make good movies anymore, so he's already sabotaged his own career.

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