The Gaslight District: The Dangerous Precedents Being Set by the Woody Allen Molestation Case
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The Gaslight District: The Dangerous Precedents Being Set by the Woody Allen Molestation Case

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | February 10, 2014 | Comments ()


The internet has been permeated with Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow think pieces over the past few weeks. With its level of cultural saturation, some people have actually grown sick of this story.

And they should. Because it’s sickening.

The reporting of this story and its importance in our culture is always met with that great old chestnut: “aren’t there more important things in the world?” These are my reasons why the answer is no. This is what this story means. This is what we face at its hands. This is why this story, the story of Dylan Farrow, is everything.

Dangerous Precedent No. 1: The idea that a victim should not be taken at her word.

This is the most dangerous idea to come out of this whole debacle. That a victim of abuse, an adult whose story remains unchanged, is lying or at the very least telling an implanted untruth. If victims cannot be taken at face value, everything falls apart for every other victim in the future. She is not a victim of abuse; she is a damaged and unstable girl who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She is not a victim of a father who abused her; she is the victim of a horrible mother who used her against the innocent man. This is disgusting on every possible level.

Dangerous Precedent No. 2: The gaslighting of an understandably emotional mother.

Shortly before his New York Times response, CBS made available its 1992 “60 Minutes” interview with Allen wherein he alleged menacing phone calls, including late-night death threats, and a Valentine’s Day card featuring a needle-packed family portrait with a steak knife plunged into its heart.

Sure, the valentine is freaky, a headline-grabber to be sure. But these efforts to point out Mia Farrow’s insanity, the crazed actions of a woman scorned and left for a younger woman, are also consistent with a woman whose child had just been molested. And not only a woman whose child had just been molested, but a woman whose husband had left her for another one of her children. Why and how are people still excusing that relationship as healthy and acceptable? Why is Farrow made the unreasonable one? Why is the story that she was the abandoned older women left for a younger model? How has that become the narrative?

Dangerous Precedent No. 3: The distinction between adoptive and biological parents.

As pointed out on Twitter by Daniel Mendelsohn, there is a hideously subtle message behind the media’s insistence upon pointing out that Allen is Dylan Farrow’s “adoptive” father. This does not make the act of molestation better or more OK. The presence of a shared DNA does not a parent make. That is her father. When you adopt a child, you become a parent, and by constantly reiterating that Allen is her “adoptive” father, it is not, as I believe they think, good and accurate reporting. It is a damning hint toward acceptance, toward tolerance.

I don’t care where you fall on the Woody Allen innocence spectrum. But this is about much, much more than the funny little guy with glasses getting in trouble. This is about more than what his guilt means for your favorite movies. This is about that 7-year-old girl and all the others like her and what this could mean for all of them going forward.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • philessense

    Sorry. I don't find this case believable. My finely tuned stomach and gut, trained by my own molestation, has me believing Woody. My opinion doesn't matter to anyone but me, but I sense an ulterior motive by the mother, and she seems like a needy sicko to me who has brainwashed her whole family for her vindictiveness at being rejected. So, you all have the right to your opinion. Just be aware that our opinions are just that.

  • tina jo

    Thank you for this article. Very well said.

  • HelenNPN

    Woody Allen Quotes Through The Years

    Audience Question: Would you accept the vice presidential nomination...
    Woody: I’m apolitical. I have no political convictions whatsoever. I’m a
    registered pervert. - “Question and Answer Session,” Monologue 1964

    Fielding Mellish: I’m doing a socialogical study of perversion – I’m up to child molesting. - Bananas, 1971

    Father Andre - "I have lived many years and, after many trials and tribulations, I have come to the conclusion that the best thing is…blond twelve-year-old girls. Two of them, whenever possible”? - Love and Death 1975

    Woody Allen: I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with fifteen 12-year-old girls tomorrow people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him. - 1976 Interview

    Isaac Davis: I’m dating a girl who does homework! - Manhattan, 1979

    MICKEY: Why all of a sudden is the sketch dirty?
    ED: Child molestation is a touchy subject…
    MICKEY: Read the papers, half the country's doing it!
    ED:Yes, but you name names. - Hannah and Her Sisters,1986

    "I didn't feel that just because she was Mia's daughter there was any great moral dilemma," the actor-director said. Time Magazine, Aug. 31, 1992

    Honeymoon Motel, a one-act play produced in 2011:

    FAY:I was a little girl. I had an Uncle Shlomo…
    NINA: Oh Mom!
    FAY: Three fingers, he tried to molest me. Suddenly, three fingers I feel fondling me—

    Stardust Memories (1980), in which the Allen character, Sandy, hints at incest when talking with his lover Dorrie about her father?

    SANDY: What about you? Did you have a little crush on him? You can admit this to me if you like.

    DORRIE:Sure, we had a little flirting.

    SANDY:A little small flirt? Mother away getting shock treatment, and the only beautiful daughter home. Long lingering breakfasts with Dad.
    Sandy Bates: You can make an exception in my case, I’m a celebrity. -Stardust Memories, 1980

    Allen on Polanski in 2010: ‘Enough is enough. It happened many years ago. He has suffered.He’s an artist, he’s a nice person. He did something wrong and he paid for it.

    JUDAH:People carry awful deeds
    around with them. What do you expect him to do, turn himself in? This is
    reality. In reality, we rationalize. We deny or we couldn't go on living.
    - Crimes and Misdemeanors 1989

    Also there is this:
    The Internet Digs Up Allen’s Creepy Child Lovin’ Past

  • glittergirl1970

    I grew up loving Woody Allen movies. "Hannah & Her Sisters" was magic to me as a high school kid in Cleveland, OH. When the scandal hit the news, I was conflicted. I read all the articles, and books, from every side of the story.

    I didn't take sides. I sort of stepped away from it all. Woody Allen's films after Mia were so... angry. And the women characters became more and more unlikeable. So I stopped watching. I've seen bits and pieces, previews, and found it all repetitive, boring, and mean.

    Now that it's all back in the news, being discussed here (and everywhere) I forced myself to go back and revisit it all. The films I once loved. The court documents surrounding the accusations. I wanted to have an opinion and be able to stand behind it. No more wishy-washy "no one knows for sure what happened."

    Here's my new take on it all:

    Some of those movies I loved, they're are ok. I'll always love "Hannah & Her Sisters". "Manhattan", beyond the beautiful cinematography and soundtrack, is uncomfortable to say the least. There he is on screen sleeping with a 17 year old girl. I got my husband to watch "Annie Hall" with me, and while it had its moments, it wasn't as great as I recalled.

    As far as the person Woody Allen is... he's pretty awful. Horrible as a parental figure. A disaster as a significant other.

    Mia is incredibly flawed, and she made mistakes (nailing a valentine with a knife through a photo of Allen to his guest room door, that's koo koo nutty.) But she's consistently taken good care of her kids, adopted and biological.

    And Dylan... reading the judge's ruling, my heart breaks for her. Woody Allen did not observe boundaries with her. Even if he didn't molest her, he was smothering, putting his head in her lap, having her in bed with him in his underwear.

    In my heart of hearts, after 30 years of loving his older films and giving him the benefit of the doubt. I no longer give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • lilianna28

    Nothing more to add, except thanks for summing up my utter outrage at this debacle.

  • AudioSuede

    Look, I'm pretty pro-Disqus most of the time, but, and this is not even to get into this story itself, when it comes to highly argumentative articles like this one where people have differing opinions, the upvote-downvote system is totally useless. People don't want to upvote an unpopular opinion, even if they agree with it, because you can see who upvoted different comments. And people will sink any comment they disagree with, even if it isn't being vitriolic, abusive, hurtful, or even taking a stance.

    There's a comment in this thread that literally boils down to, "whatever the facts are, I feel sad for the victim," and it got two downvotes just because they didn't specifically state that Woody Allen is 100% a guaranteed child molester. So we get comments that have the most upvotes I've ever seen on this site, and all of them are on one side, while anyone on the other side or anyone in the middle gets downvoted so hard they might as well not have commented at all, because people don't want to upvote if there's even a chance they might be perceived as defending a child molester even if they aren't.

    It's a perpetuation of the ever-devolving state of discourse on the internet, where people blind themselves to any opinion that doesn't jibe with their own and punish people who disagree with them. If I spend three paragraphs saying that Dylan Farrow is a martyr for the cause of sexual abuse victims everywhere and her face should be on a stamp but then in the last paragraph I say, "Of course we don't know what really happened because we weren't there, but other than a few straggling inconsistencies in both sides of the story, I tend to side with the victim even though none of us can ever know the truth," I'd probably get just as many downvotes as upvotes just because I mentioned that anything about this story isn't an absolute, black-and-white, chiseled in stone truth that everyone can agree on.

    For a thread with this many comments to be so totally devoid of anything resembling a point is frustrating, because Pajiba is usually a place of intellectual dialogue intermixed with snarky fun, not a call-and-response convention where people just re-write what's already in the article and add nothing of value to the discussion for fear that any new information might side them with someone we've already determined as a group is a foaming abusive sex monster.

  • becks2point0

    I do wish that people would write the reasons they disagree with a comment rather than click downvote.

    I wanted to comment about your assertion that Sean takes no side in his comment though. This is in no way my opinion, and in fact makes me sick when I see it, but there is a somewhat vocal minority of people out there who think Dylan is making all of this up for attention and is not a victim of anyone. That's likely who would downvote his comment.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    People can always log out of Disqus and upvote as a guest, right?

  • Jezzer

    It's not like the up/down vote system has a concrete effect on anything. It's not like some comment systems, where massively-downvoted comments get automatically hidden, and lots of upvotes moves a comment to the top of a page.

    My main complaint about it is that it gives people the option to vote without comment and downvote without revealing their identity, which is just a bullshit gateway to noncommittal passive aggression, and I'm for committed passive aggression, all the way.

  • Andrei Petrovitch

    I wish I could upvote this comment 30000 times.

  • Bryan

    As someone who (as far as I can tell) has never even seen a Woody Allen movie, I'm relieved that I can look at this case somewhat objectively instead of viewing it through the lens of "will this affect my enjoyment of his work?"

  • Ruthie O

    My favorite response to this whole situation was penned by Samantha Jane Geimer, Polanski's victim. I like it because Woody Allen's name is only mentioned once, in the first sentence, and she opens her piece up to how can we help ALL survivors of sexual violence. She drags no one through the mud, doesn't even talk about the case specifically. Rather than revisiting the "should we support Allen" debate, I appreciated the way she used the moment to open up a dialogue about how we respond to sexual assault as a culture.

  • kirbyjay

    ahhhh....the justice system. You have your Rollo Tomasi's. (Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, George Zimmerman etc......) where evidence of guilt was apparent but was tried on the basis of money, fame, racism and emotion and they got away with it, or Ryan Ferguson, The West Memphis Three, Amanda Knox, and countless people of color, where evidence was non-existent but overzealous prosecutors wanted that win.

  • Maddy

    I just hate this whole idea that because Woody Allen is Woody Allen means we should give him more benefit of the doubt than if it was anyone else. I don't care how great an 'artist' people think you are, there is no excuse, and that shouldn't even be part of the conversation.

  • Gunnut2600

    I don't understand why people are getting so emotionally involved in this story...unless they are projecting their own issues into it. Either seems pretty pointless and a waste of time and energy.

  • kirbyjay

    Yes, let's just bury our heads in the sand Mr. Ostrich. That's how the Nazi's got away with it.
    Good Lord, did I just mention Nazis?

  • Gunnut2600

    Not the nazis...I believe you mean Unit 731. Those fuckers got away with everything.

  • Wigamer


  • poopnado

    Agree, especially on the last point. It is NOT okay to make this distinction. And, even though I don't think he officially adopted Soon-Yi, he was a father figure. She was the adopted daughter of his partner. It is still wrong! Blah!

  • dulli1419

    I can't find where I am on this, I switch back and forth. The only answer, I think, is not to make yourself a part of it. But then, I don't know, that has its problems too.

    All I know is this: no one, including the author of this article, has their arms around the whole thing.

    I think we all need to read Oleanna again. Or at least see the movie.

    I really don't mean to takes sides by saying that its just...mediations by a man more bright than I.

    For those interested:

  • Sean

    I feel bad for that girl no matter what the truth is. Either her father sexually molested her, and screwed up her life. Or her mother is insane, and brainwashed her into thinking her father molested her, and screwed up her life.

  • AudioSuede

    Why would anyone downvote this? It's literally the most impartial possible stance taking both sides into account and ultimately settling on "we should feel bad for the girl, because she's a victim no matter what." What, because he made reference to Allen's defense it warrants burying his comment? He didn't say that's what happened, or that it's right, he just said it's something someone has said, and that regardless of the facts, it's sad, which it absolutely is.

  • susan leon

    This young woman sounds seriously disturbed. Her calling out to actresses who have worked with her father was, at best, peculiar behavior. She may be disturbed because she was molested by her father (adoptive or natural, dad is dad to the child) or because she was disturbed as a child and the molestation did not occur. It seems almost impossible to sort these things out when they surface decades after the fact. The idea that we should automatically believe the person claiming molestation is a harmful notion.

  • Wigamer

    I just can't with this anymore. If I choose to believe the victim that has nothing--seriously, nothing--to gain, then I have to believe that he's the perpetrator. I am not on a jury, I have no power to do a single fu*king thing except voice my insignificant support to a person I will never know. Though my opinion matters not a whit, my conscience dictates that I support the powerless against the powerful.

    ETA--the fact that in his response, Allen echoed Weide's shitty "If Ronan is really Frank Sinatra's son then Mia is a lying whore who cheated on Woody and can't be believed" argument makes me hate him even if he never touched Dylan. He seduced Mia's daughter. Behaving as if that's totally cool, but clutching his pearls at the notion of Mia's infidelity pisses me right off.

  • kirbyjay

    Let's not forget the lovely spread eagled photos that the Woodster took of the just legal daughter of his girlfriend and co-parent and left them on the mantle where his girlfriend and co-parent could find.

  • Lee

    You mean the "modeling" photos? Mia and the court were just vengeful pyschos for thinking those were anything but innocent modeling photos. This award winning director didn't even know how to use a simple camera, right? We misinterpreted. And he's clausterphobic!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Thank you!

  • Lee

    I thought his letter was really damning to him. Pure vitiol, painting himself as the victim, and he lied about the polygraph. He seems totally clueless about social norms and values. She's very brave for standing up against him.

  • nosio

    Some sobering statistics:

    - Each year, there are about 237,868 victims of FALSE accusations of sexual assault allegations in the US.
    - Every 2 minutes, another American is WRONGFULLY accused of rape/sexual abuse/molestation.
    - 44% of people FALSELY claiming to have been sexually abused or raped are under the age of 18.
    - 1 out of every 6 American women will FALSELY accuse someone of rape or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

    See, guys? We live in a world where false accusations of sexual abuse are practically systemic. They're all but a tragic fact of life for a large percentage of our society, and thus the onus is on us - we, the people - to scrutinize the claims from the mouths of babes that seek to damage the weak and helpless among us.

    So, I tip my cap to all of you arguing things along the lines of, "Of course it's just as dangerous (DANGEROUS!) to presume Dylan's innocence as it is to presume Woody's." Because of *course* it is just as necessary and vital to protect the accused in question from something as irreparably damaging as a dip in popularity or movie ticket sales. When one is accused of committing a deed so rare as sexual abuse - do you want to take the risk of accepting the accuser's testimony at face value? When a man's REPUTATION is on the line? Do you disagree that the emotional damage sustained by a father far outweighs any long-lasting impact his actions have had on his daughter?

    Do you want to live in a country where a man who will never be brought to trial for this crime isn't safe from public opinion? Do you want to live in a world where a powerful, rich, prestigious man doesn't have the final say on his sexual legacy? Do you want to live in a world where a child can accuse her father of sexual abuse and people will take her seriously? WELL, DO YOU?

    I do. I really fucking do.

    (stats from

  • Kim Voeks

    Where did you get those numbers because the FBI puts it at about 2%, with 8% as an outlier?

  • Kim Voeks

    There are only 230,000 rapes reported each year. Per RAINN. How can there be that many false accusations? Never mind. I'm an idiot.

  • Kate at June

    They flipped the stats to make the point.

  • AngelenoEwok

    It took me a minute to see what you did there, but I love it.

  • Evolve Today

    The fact Woody Allen is, at the very least something of a creep and at the very worst a monster, and the fact that this is a matter of public opinion as opposed to the law aside, I'd rather a jury not think that way. I honestly think he did it, and I think we should be wary of supporting anything he does, but still. It does indeed set a dangerous precedent either way.

  • nosio

    There is no dangerous precedent in the legal sense, then, when the only court that cares about this is the court of public opinion. There is no jury. All this talk about dangerous precedent in the context you're proposing is utterly ridiculous.

    When it comes to setting a dangerous precedent in the way we as a society react to allegations of child abuse, I see zero danger in aligning sympathy with the victims of the alleged abuse rather than remaining "impartial."

    (Edited to elaborate on stuff because I finally got home and my fingers have thawed to the point where I could actually type)

  • Evolve Today

    I don't disagree that you should look to the needs of the child first. But "society" makes up juries as well. So. I dunno, it seems like a dangerous attitude to me. Not that it's wrong in this case.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    As an adoptive father myself, I am frequently bothered when people insist on making the distinction between biological and adoptive parents in situations where the difference is completely immaterial. So not only is this kind of sloppy reporting muddling the facts in this specific story, it's perpetuating the idea that only biological parents are "real" parents.

    Please, don't drag adoption into the middle of this ugly mess as though it had anything to do with it.

  • Ruthie O

    Thank you. My mom and my uncle are adopted, and I never once felt like my grandparents were less than my grandparents for that fact. Actually, my maternal grandparents were the ones who raised me, helped me through college, and opened my eyes to so much beauty of the world. We may have no shared genetics, but kinship is not defined by blood, but by commitment, collective memories, love, and sacrifice.

  • Here is the other problem with No. 3: the silent implication that only relatives or guardians count towards whether a child was "really" molested. With all the cases featuring adults with no direct relation to the kids they violate, people honestly want to argue "hey, he's not the father".

    What the FUCK does her being adopted, or even his daughter, have to do with it? A CHILD WAS MOLESTED BY AN ADULT. END OF STORY. You want to defend Allen? That's your bag. But trying to mitigate or downplay it by saying she wasn't "really" his daughter? IT DOESN'T MATTER IF HE IS RELATED TO HER OR NOT, ASSHOLES.

  • Cheetahdriver

    I absolutely agree. I think that the confusion about Allen's relationship with his current wife (who I actually thought was also his adopted daughter until reading the original piece here), gets sloshed over into the Dylan controversy and it shouldn't.

  • $78742978

    She was not technically his adopted daughter, so I guess it would be totes cool if the guy I've been dating for ten years ran off with my bio-daughter. So long as he hadn't legally adopted her. No big thang as long as it's not technically incest.

  • I thought we still had the presumption of innocence in this country, but I guess as usual, Internet Court has already closed this case.

    Dangerous Precedent number 4: taking sides in the case and arguing in one side's favor without knowing with certainty what actually happened, which people on both sides of this seem to be doing regularly. Whether this author likes it or not, she's still an alleged victim, yet we're operating here under the imagined assumption that Allen has been found guilty under the law somewhere and now anyone who doesn't believe every word she says is in the wrong.

    Sorry, not every victim should be taken at their word just because they claim to be a victim. That's dangerous. They should be taken seriously, but not as though their word is the only word. That's not how our justice system works. Thankfully.

  • TheEmpress

    I have to agree with the statement that "not every victim should be taken at their word just because they claim to be a victim." That's why I hear crickets about Farrah Abraham's newest assertion that she's been raped. Honestly, I don't know what side to believe, Mia or Woody. I do believe that no matter what, Dylan Farrow believes she was raped and has been suffering the same as any rape victim all these years.

  • Kim Voeks

    You have a presumption of innocence in the criminal process. That ship has sailed. The standard in a civil case is the greater preponderance of the evidence, which is 51%. We aren't there, either. We are in the real world, where people are free to judge and reach conclusions based on either research or feelings.
    Frankly, having read the judge's decision, it appears he was the person with the most insight into the case and had the best opportunity to evaluate both parties. He concluded that Farrow wasn't a perfect parent, but that Allen was too much of a risk to be even allowed near the children, with or without supervision. That's a hell of a statement. You are so damaged that you can't even be trusted with your children even with other people in the room. Know that that does not happen in these cases very often, as the law generally prefers that it is in children's best interest to maintain some contact with a parental figure. The judge acknowledges that he can't determine whether the abuse happened or not, and in truth, even at the end of the criminal process, we still don't know. But he saw enough to say he wasn't taking the chance that he was wrong. Good for him.

  • Lollygagger9

    I'm just going to leave this here (and apologize for it being an Amanda Marcotte article)

  • I am thinking about changing the name of my column to "Internet Court."

  • Night Court(ney). The People's Courtney. Supreme Courtney. The possibilities are endless.

  • Jezzer

    Order in the Courtney!

  • BlackRabbit

    Can you scream at people like Judge Judy?

  • Jezzer

    This isn't a trial, we're not the jury, and Woody Allen has not a fuck to give whether or not we believe he's guilty, and isn't suffering because of it. So, you know, fuck you.

  • "Woody Allen has not a fuck to give", "So, you know, fuck you" - That's cute internet lingo. You're hitting all the right notes to get those upvotes. I congratulate you. The only thing you were missing was a "He's guilty, because Woody Allen" or something to that effect.

    I happen to believe he did it, by the way, but I'm not going to act like I know definitively. A ludicrous notion online, to be sure.

  • Dumily

    I'd like to officially invite you to join in all of my future reindeer games. This comment is just tits.

  • Dumily

    So I'm sure you think OJ was innocent too, right?

  • wonkeythemonkey

    Oh, definitely. His victims totally lied about being murdered.

  • Dumily

    Well according to a court of law, the police lied (or were wrong or misremembered or were coerced by their crazy moms) because he was found not guilty. If the argument is "we can't form an opinion on a person's guilt until a court of law backs us up," then OJ, Casey Anthony, and R Kelly are all totally innocent.

  • I've never liked Woody Allen's movies. Nor have I ever liked the public persona he's built. For what it's worth(not a lot, let's be honest) I think that in this specific instance, the overwhelming likelihood is that she is telling the truth and that he did it.

    On the other hand, I think that, as a general rule on a societal level, to let your emotions run away with you and to assume that people don't ever lie about sexual abuse can be as much of a fallacy as to assume that they always do.

  • jephred

    False accusations are no where near as common as people think, but the idea of them is paraded out every time a powerful person is accused. Actually, I couldn't find a credible statistic on this that wasn't part of some giant "protect the falsely accused!" campaign, although trying to find stats did give me a lot of "I was falsely accused!" websites.

    But I did find this from 1994:

    "Although allegations of child sexual abuse in cases of divorce may appear revengeful, about two-thirds of these accusations probably are true, according to U-M researchers."

    "Further, Faller says that of the false or possibly false charges, only one in five is knowingly made, with the rest of the false allegations classified as “misinterpretations.”"

    Yeah, people lie. But no where near as often as those accused would have you believe.

  • Cheetahdriver

    I agree totally (was typing out a similar response, but without the brevity of yours) and would add that I think both should be banned from contact with anyone under 30...

  • $78742978

    The thing that sort of baffles me is how people want to treat Allen as innocent until proven guilty or don't seem to be willing to believe Farrow's story unless it's proven beyond reasonable doubt. They don't seem to realize that the public is not, in fact, a court room. We're not sending anyone to jail; we're not subject to the same bylaws. In this case and others (the Brown University rape wall, for instance), victims who cannot seem to find justice in court try to take it to the public. While I do question the implications of simply taking every purported victim at his or her word, it's so understandable for Farrow and others to do this. It is disgusting to ask someone to accept that they will never have justice. She has to watch this guy's life be golden and suffer no consequences. I find it completely reasonable for her to want to hang him in public court. I kind of think it's there for that reason, for us as a society to shame those whose crimes we for some reason can't punish. No one finds it objectionable that we hung OJ or Casey Anthony in public court. No one needed innocent until proven guilty with them. It must be so very difficult for her to face this backlash.

  • Marla Hughes

    There's also those pics of Allan holding the hands of his adopted daughters now. Soon Yi does not seem to have a personality to be able to limit his admitted proclivities toward young women/girls. Scary.

  • gutpunchprod

    Yeah, well, I won't be chucking my DVD collection out. He didn't do it.

  • Jezzer

    Your courage in standing against sexual abuse victims is a shining example to us all.

  • gutpunchprod

    Anyone who watches Woody Allen's movies has a decision to make. You either think he did it, in which case you (should) never watch another movie again, or you accept that he's telling the truth. In this case, based on what both sides have said, I don't believe he did what he is being accused of doing.

  • Jezzer

    I can see that. I mean, you have the word of a young woman with absolutely nothing to gain and no reason to lie vs. the word of someone with everything to lose and every reason in the world to lie, but on the other hand, if you believe the young woman it might impair your ability to completely enjoy Annie Hall.

  • gutpunchprod

    She has nothing to gain but she has her mother to lose. And that has had her terrified her entire life. If she isn't lying, take a polygraph test. If Mia Farrow isn't lying, take a polygraph test. Until then, I believe the only one who has done.

  • BlackRabbit

    Polygraphs are not infallible.

  • Jezzer

    Your victim-blaming fu is awe-inspiring.

  • Jezzer

    I mean, seriously, who doesn't want to see this scenario?

    "My daddy raped me."


    That's sure to make sexual abuse victims more likely to seek help!

  • Caleb

    That polygraph test that Woody Allen took was not used in court because he got his own people to organize it instead of using a government one

  • Gunnut2600

    Oh my god seriously...Polygraph tests are completely...and utterly bullshit. There is a reason why they are not admissible in court. You could get three different polygraph experts to interview the same person and get three different results.

    Agreeing to a polygraph makes as much sense as talking to the cops. If your dumb enough to die either, you are fucked.

  • Andrei Petrovitch

    Guilt may cast a pall over Allen's, but I personally have no problem separating the person from his work (even if I respect those who can't). Polanski was/is arguably a bigger scumbag, but his work is amazing, as much as I loathe him.

    Yesterday people everywhere paid tribute to the Beatles - a band that featured John Lennon, a spousal abuser who abandoned his first son. Lots of Pajiba readers and other literate, well read forums make jokey references to Cthulu, forgetting that HP Lovecraft was a violent racist.

    My solution? I don't know. It's obviously a personal decision. Maybe download - enjoy the art, while the (accused) kid toucher doesn't make a cent?

  • Lovecraft was too terrified of people in general to ever turn his racism into violence. I think it might be more accurate to characterize him as a virulent racist.

  • Andrei Petrovitch

    Good point. Thanks for the correction.

  • What exactly does Allen stand to lose, other than the internet's favor? If he's never going to be tried for it, he doesn't have to worry about prison time, and Hollywood has already proven they don't make moral judgments when it comes to these kinds of crimes. And accusations alone certainly don't bother these people. You'll be waiting a long time if you think someone's gonna publicly admit they refuse to work with Woody Allen based on these accusations.

  • emmalita

    I have so many feels and thoughts on this situation. They are an incoherent mess. The clearest thoughts I have are: 1) while there is a danger in convicting someone in the court of public opinion, Woody Allen is a bad example of this danger. There is plenty of objective evidence against him. 2) Just because someone is crazy, doesn't mean they're wrong.

  • Ninja_Toes

    yours seems to be the position I agree with the most on this thing. Woody Allen seems guilty according to accumulated evidence, so its difficult to decry the "court of public opinion" on this one (as much as I hate that particular court).

    But... I also think we have a responsibility when we engage in a public conversation like this to do all of our research and to be as open and fair-minded as possible. We assume the things we think and say as a group don't matter, but they often do. When we jump to conclusions unfairly, we risk unintended harm (like the Lindy Chamberlain case here in Oz).

    So yeah, Woody Allen is not an appropriate "martyr" in this case, but I think as a rule we should always be sceptical of "public opinion"

  • emmalita

    Yes. I never advocate joining the crowd. Especially not when emotions are running high.

  • Cheetahdriver

    And point 2) is in relationship to Dylan, Woody, Mia or Yes...?

  • emmalita

    Partly I mean Mia. Mostly, I mean that assuming someone is wrong, or assuming that they are a liar just because they are crazy is a bad practice. Of course Mia was crazy. Her long time boyfriend was having a sexual relationship with her daughter. Incestuous or not, that's going to make a person at least a little crazy. That does not mean that they are wrong or that they are lying.

  • NateMan

    I'm done with this topic. I have to be. I believe Dylan, I DON'T believe Allen or any of his supporters, but it's not going to go to trial, he wouldn't be found guilty if it did, and I'm weary of hearing all the different ways people are trying to drag her through the mud. All I can do is continue to not support his work and if people ask why tell them the truth. Dylan Farrow has my deepest sympathies.

  • Jezzer

    Please God, tell me that someone's going to come galumphing into the comments waving the Robert Weide Daily Beast smear job around like they've just found the missing OJ knife, screaming "AHA!"

    Because that hasn't gotten old at all.

  • 0ur0boros

    I prefer to wave this around:

  • Jezzer

    Weide's header pic from his Twitter account. SMELL THE OBJECTIVITY.

  • Monica

    Director of how to lose friends. So appropriate.

  • Mrs. Julien

    We have a friend who sued the man who had preyed upon her because the statute of limitations on a criminal prosecution had expired. She took his house and required that he write a note acknowledging that she was telling the truth.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Thank you, Courtney.

    I suggest anyone one who is confused about this issue read the judge's original decision in the paternity suit. Much like the deposition from Roman Polanksi's victim, it should clear up ANY confusion on this situation.

    ETA: Link -

  • AudioSuede

    I've heard from different people that the decision was actually pretty controversial, since he was cleared of wrongdoing and there were a lot of people surrounding the case who believed the judge wrote that specifically to go after Allen in the public record even though he wasn't convicted. Again, not siding with him, but I don't think the judge's decision can be considered ironclad evidence.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I feel that it is possible to separate any opining from the facts presented in the decision. That the judge recognizes and states that Mr. Allen is a self-absorbed a-hole is just a bonus.

  • Andrei Petrovitch

    But isn't the abandonment of due process and presumption of innocence a dangerous precedent too? Yes, I do think we should always err on the side of the victim initially, and YES, Dylan's claims must be taken seriously, but Allen's guilt is not an objective, foregone conclusion.

  • Dumily

    Due process and presumption of innocence are vital to the justice system, not to my opinion of the man. The circumstantial evidence in this case might not be strong enough for a conviction, but if you're just asking if I think he (or Michael Jackson or OJ Simpson or R Kelly) is guilty? Oh yeah, Baretta did that shit.

  • Andrei Petrovitch

    I hear ya. Do I think it's possible, maybe even, oh, EXTREMELY likely Allen did it? Yeah, but I still don't think we can reasonably abandon due process and presumption of innocence, even in the court of public opinion. To do so, is, IMO, intellectually lazy and potentially dangerous. Besides, the court of public opinion DOES indeed influence the court of the criminal justice system - look how many of our laws, for example, seem to be drafted in response to perceived dangers and our desire to enforce personal moral norms (three strikes, mandatory minimum, etc.).

  • jephred

    I very strongly disagree: this isn't about "due process" but about rape culture where the burden of proof is always on the victim. The stats on the number of sexual assault cases actually tried, and convicted, are damn depressing:

    Most cases don't get reported BECAUSE of victim blaming mentality. In this case, it was a 7 year old girl vs a very powerfully connected adult male -- and the judge's decision was based on how hard he thought the trial would be on the 7 year old. How do you expect a 7 year old to prove that she was molested? Even penetration cannot always be seen later through a medical exam:

    "In the vast majority of cases where there is credible evidence that a child has been penetrated, only between 5 and 15% of those children will have genital injuries consistent with sexual abuse (page 2).:


    Let's put the "presumption of innocence" back where it belongs -- on the victim. I presume she is innocent of trying to fabricate charges against a powerful man. I presume Mia is innocent of brainwashing her daughter into fabricating charges against a powerful man. I presume he is guilty, but that our imperfect (and possibly even corrupt -- he who has the most money wins) justice system, as designed, would probably never have been able to convict him because of "innocent until proven guilty" which only actually seems to work for powerful (and mostly white) men. Ask any black kid in court if he thinks the burden of proof is on the prosecution.

    So pretty much all I have left is the court of public opinion, and I intend to use that to hold people like Allen accountable for their actions, to push for changes in laws that protect children, and to fight against victim-blaming mentality.

    Believe the victim. The end.

    A 7 year old girl had something horrible happen to her -- and now that girl is an adult and people are still saying, "well, if Allen couldn't be convicted, it doesn't really count."

    Think of the precedent of THAT.

  • Andrei Petrovitch

    A presumption of innocence for the accused does NOT equal a presumption of guilt of the accuser. That's a false dichotomy, and if (big IF) Moses Farrow is correct, there may be a third possibility. Examining claims is not "victim blaming" but simple, rational thought.

    Lemme ask: should we simply accept everything as truth, without examining it? Sadly, people did in these cases:

    I understand that the presumption of innocence/burden of proof standard has painful, unintended consequences. How do we resolve them? I don't know. Like I said from the outset, we should always err on the side of the accuser in these cases and take their claims seriously. Beyond THAT, though, all claims must be examined closely and simply not accepted as "proof" without proper vetting. At various times in our history, we've burned people at the stake or branded them as communist and terrorists simply because other people said so. Should we lower the standards necessary for conviction? Are you willing to risk the unintended consequences of THAT?

    As for being shielded from such legal requirements because we operate in the court of "public opinion:"
    Where does the court of the criminal justice system get its jurors from? We're naive if we think public opinion doesn't influence legislation and its enforcement. Again, let's look at what happened in the '80s during the Satanic Sex Abuse "epidemic."

    As for the inherent flaws of the criminal justice system - those have more to do with biases on the part of the participants rather than the system itself, which I believe in.

    Again, do I personally think Allen did it? More than likely, he did. But I also recognize that I may be incorrect, and I can accept that.

  • Dumily

    And I should also add, I'm not unsympathetic to your view. But most of Allen's supporters are pointing to the lack of a conviction as proof that he must not have done it. And it isn't proof. It's an acknowledgement that we have a shitty justice system, and sex crimes involving children are exceedingly difficult to prosecute.

  • Dumily

    I didn't say "ignore everything we know about Woody Allen, and believe Dylan Farrow." I said the circumstantial evidence is strong enough to convince me that he molested her. I get to consider things that a court wouldn't be allowed to (prior relationships with young women, inappropriate relationships with other family members, prior comments (see his 1976 interview with People magazine about being caught in a love nest. Eww.), his termination of parental rights, etc), and make a decision based on all of the evidence presented. And since I'm not legally able to punish Allen in a way, I'm not actually that worried that the well respected millionaire might get some side eyed glances from us commoners. If this case has any bearing on the legal system on the whole, I can only hope it would serve to better train prosecutors in how to deal with child victims.

  • Evolve Today

    I was just going to say this. This is one of those weird cases where there doesn't seem to be a side I can take and still feel totally comfortable with it.

  • birdgal

    Very well put, I feel the exact same way.

  • Andrei Petrovitch

    I totally agree here. Like my wife says, "I wouldn't let our (future) kids sleep over at Woody's...but I wouldn't let them stay over at Mia's either."

  • Mrs. Julien

    While the extent of his guilt has not been proven in court, if you look at the judge's original custody decision, you will see that not only should the child be believed, but her caregivers as well, and that Mr. Allen's history is damning.

  • Mrs. Julien will be speaking for me on this subject. The whole thing makes me ill.

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